Healthcare News & Insights

Oops! Stressed out docs make more mistakes

Fatigue isn’t the only thing that can lead docs and other staffers to make serious medical mistakes. Now you have to worry about their emotional well-being too.

A new study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic shows that other factors like stress, lower quality of life, burnout and depression can also increase the number of mistakes resident physicians make. (Presumably that goes for other staff as well.)

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that for every point increase in residents’ fatigue, they were 14% more likely to make a serious medical error. Similar increases in sleepiness correlated to a 10% increase in error-making. Other “emotional” issues had similar effects.

What’s more worrisome is that most steps to reform training for residents focus on issues of fatigue. But long hours, relatively low pay and stressful days can be just as risky when it comes to patient care.

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