Burnout among GPs can be an occupational hazard and is believed to be increasingly common. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal consultant at Medical Protection, discusses burnout and the steps that sessional GPs can take to avoid it.
Dr A is a locum GP undertaking 5-6 sessions per week in different practices. She has chosen to do locum work, to balance her work life with that of bringing up her two small children. She has always felt passionately that, as a locum GP, she can contribute positively to practices by drawing on her experiences of working in different practices – ensuring that patients receive the same level of care from her that they would from their regular GP.
However, recently Dr A has felt overwhelmed at work and has found herself coming home exhausted physically. She no longer looks forward to work and has started to doubt herself, believing that nothing she does makes a difference to patients. She no longer takes pride in her work and feels numb when she thinks about her patients.