Sleep Disorders, Burnout and Neurologists

The old physician culture of extremely long hours may indeed be waning, but an article titled “Association of Sleep Disorders With Physician Burnout“points out that neurologists with undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders may still have high levels of professional burnout. Citing a study of more than 1,000 physicians published in JAMA Network Open, reporter Gina Shaw documents the sentiments of neurologists who believe these disorders should be addressed with more vigor.  

In response, investigators from the division of sleep and circadian disorders in the departments of medicine and neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School developed a Sleep Health and Wellness (SHAW) program that was offered to hospital specialty groups during times typically reserved for Grand Rounds.

“Conducted between May 2018 and May 2019, the SHAW presentations were followed by a screening for sleep disorders (including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and shift work disorder) as well as professional burnout (using the Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey) and professional fulfillment (using the Professional Fulfillment Index),” writes Shaw. “Of the 1,436 teaching hospital clinicians who attended the SHAW program, 1,047 completed the screening for sleep disorders; approximately 8 percent were from departments of neurology (and an additional 4 percent from neurosurgery).” 

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