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Beating doctor burnout and protecting patients
Date:6/29/2010

Researchers at The University of Nottingham are part of a new pan-European research study examining whether working conditions in hospitals are contributing to doctor 'burnout' and putting patients' lives at risk.

The five-year project, funded with more than 2m from the European Union, will work with hospital doctors to identify issues within the workplace which affect their ability to practice medicine safely and effectively. In an example of groundbreaking 'action research' the academics will then directly collaborate with the healthcare professionals to develop strategies that could be used to improve organisational culture, reduce 'burnout' and, ultimately, improve patient care.

The Nottingham team is being led by Kavita Vedhara, professor of applied psychology in the University's Institute of Work, Health and Organisations.

Professor Vedhara said: "This project is attempting to uncover aspects of the hospital working environment which potentially may be psychologically toxic and we will be doing that by asking the healthcare professionals who deliver patient care within it every day.

"Issues could be organisational, such as having to work in multidisciplinary teams where individuals have their own quite different objectives, or they could be at a far more personal level, for example in coping with a lack of administrative support or handling strained working relationships.

"These are the types of issues which many of us are faced with in our own jobs on a daily basis. The difference with doctors and why this research is of such great importance is that errors they may make as a result have far greater significance. Human lives are in their hands."

The University of Nottingham is the only English partner to be involved in the study, which is being coordinated by Dr Efharris Panagapolou at the Medical School of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, and involves researchers in a total of nine Eur
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Contact: Professor Kavita Vedhara
kavita.vedhara@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-823-2209
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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