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Marlon Sukkal


AbstractPhysician burnout is prevalent in healthcare today. Contributing factors include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of loss of autonomy. Physician burnout negatively affects a physician’s ability to provide high quality patient care. Physician burnout indicators include poor behavior, mental decline, depression, narcotics and alcohol abuse, suicidal ideation, and suicide completion. Given the negative impact of physician burnout, it is necessary to understand what can counter this phenomenon. Through lived experiences of physicians who self-identified as burned out, the purpose of this study was to explore personal resilience as an interventional strategy to reduce physician burnout. Personal resilience is adapting well in adverse or traumatic circumstances. Using a conceptual framework, critical social theory and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory were used for this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study of seven physicians’ responses in interviews. Data were coded for similar patterns and themes of burnout and personal resilience strategies. Findings confirmed that physicians employed personal resilience as an interventional strategy to reduce burnout. Some participants stated that inequities in the health system left them with the sense that the organization did not care and made arbitrary decisions without understanding the impact of those decisions. Findings may be used for positive social change by administrators to help physicians provide high quality patient care and favorable patient outcomes, enhanced physician wellness and engagement, and decreased healthcare costs.

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