Survey Finds Medical Errors Increase Stress for Doctors
Physicians who make or come close to making medical mistakes often experience an upswing in occupational stress, according to a survey released on Wednesday, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. Results of the survey will be published in the August edition of the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
For the survey, 3,171 physicians in St. Louis, Seattle and Canada responded to surveys that researchers mailed or e-mailed to them.
Of the physicians participating in the survey, 2,909 said they had been involved in a serious or minor medical error, or a near miss. Sixty-one percent of those physicians said they were burdened with increased stress about the possibility of future errors, while 44% said they lost confidence in their professional capabilities.
In addition, 42% reported having sleep problems, and the same percentage said they grew less satisfied with their jobs after the incident.
According to the survey, physicians involved with a serious medical error were most likely to report higher levels of occupational stress, although one-third of physicians involved in near misses also reported higher stress.
Amy Waterman, a psychologist at Washington University and lead author of the study, said the survey findings highlight the need for hospitals to provide support to physicians after medical errors, which she said could push them to quit, become depressed or commit other errors.
Among physicians participating in the survey, 10% said hospitals offered sufficient resources to help them manage stress stemming from medical errors (Tanner, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 7/18).