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Stress, Burnout and Anxiety in Medical Professionals

Info: 1036 words (4 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 25th Aug 2020

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Tagged: anxiety

Every day thinking about becoming a doctor trying to save lives and doing surgery is all part of the dream. There are many obstacles a medical student has to face to reach their goals. Some of the obstacles are taking the MCAT and having a 3.5 GPA throughout four years of college to determine where students will go for medical school. To become a doctor, a medical student has to go through medical schools and then 3 to 7 years of a residency program to become a doctor.  As thinking about becoming an OBGYN that delivers babies and treats diseases of the female reproductive system, there will be many challenges to face to reach the goals. Becoming an OBGYN will  help females who are unable to pay for medical advice and reduce the birth mortality rate. To face these obstacles a medical student and health professionals must learn how to cope with stress, burnout and anxiety disorder.

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Firstly, stress is the response to challenges resulting from stimuli or events that causes emotional and physical tension (Licht, Hull, & Ballantyne, 2017). Stress plays a daily role in our lives from being frustrated about the school to feeling nervous about turning in a homework assignment. A stressor is a stimulus that causes one to release stress hormones that can affect one mentally and emotionally (Licht, Hull, & Ballantyne, 2017). For example, the death of a family member that your close to made you feel lonely can lead to stress. There is also positive stress which is the response to agreeable or positive events which is called eustress (Licht, Hull, & Ballantyne, 2017). An example of eustress is working hard to reach your goals or planning to travel is all part of positive stress. But there is also negative stress response to unpleasant events which is called distress that leads to undesirable stressors (Licht, Hull, & Ballantyne, 2017). For example, studying for a medical exam last minute and not being prepared cause distress. Medical professionals often feel stress when it comes to diagnosing a patient and figuring out what plan will be more effective on the patients. There is also stress about giving the right amount of medication and stress about telling the family about the patient's condition or death. Medical professionals often have overnight shifts which can have difficult cases and cause stress because there are not enough doctors available. Doing surgery gives a lot of stress because one mistake can create a life and death situation. To cope with stress medical professionals can go to the hospital psychologist to get counseling or write down their stress in a diary or journal. Medical professionals can find something that can relieve stress by going on vacation or meditating. Not dealing with stress can drain you mentally and physically.


Secondly, Burnout is the feeling of not being motivated due to overworking the body emotional, mental, and physical (Licht, Hull, & Ballantyne, 2017). Many Medical professionals feel fatigued during long hour shifts because they are on call even when off duty. This may cause a lack of treatment to the patient and some may be left untreated. Medical students tend to burnout more due to stress, workload, and exams. According to a study, about 37% of Canadian medical students meet the criteria for burnout (Glauser, 2017). This shows that a significant amount of medical students do not receive an adequate amount of sleep. A study done by the American Medical Association which is based on an international survey about 27% of medical students showed symptoms of depression (Glauser, 2017). This data explains the correlation between depression symptoms and burnout among medical students. Having a lack of sleep, during 70 hours of clinical rotation and dealing with death first time can add on and the best coping mechanism starts to fail (Glauser, 2017). Many medical professionals forget to take care of their mental and physical health due to the stress of saving the lives of others. This is a problem because exhaustion and overload can lead to mistreating the patient. Medical students and the medical profession need to find a way to cope with their problems by getting eight hours of sleep and taking care of their health.

Anxiety Disorder

Finally, anxiety disorder is a psychological disorder that characterized feelings of extreme anxiety and irrational fears that interfere with daily activity (Licht, Hull, & Ballantyne, 2017). Many medical students worry that they will fail an exam or that they will not pass a class which can lead to anxiety. The cause of anxiety in students is because the amount of money they spend in medical school and how much work they put in. If one mistake is made it can lead to jeopardizing their career which can lead to depression and anxiety. Many physicians and medical students fear the death of their patients. Not having proper care of yourself can lead to failure in taking care of others.


In conclusion, medical professionals and medical students  must know how to cope with stress, burnout, and anxiety disorder. Knowing how to deal with stress can help the doctors to treat their patients better and will be able to make better decisions. The medical field has a lot of stress the medical profession should know how to deal with stress by going to a psychologist or finding other ways to deal with stress. The medical profession should realize when they feel they are burnout that way they can take breaks when the body signals them to. For anxiety disorder, medical students should not be hard on themselves and do the best they can. Learning about theses coping mechanism will help medical student to deal with problem efficiently before the problems cause major harm.


  • Glauser, W. (2017, December 18). Medical schools adressing student anxiety, burnout and depression. Canadian Medical Association. Journal, 189(50), E1569-E1570.
  • Licht, D. M., Hull, M. G., & Ballantyne, C. (2017). Scientific American: Psychology 2nd Edition. New York, N.Y: Worth Publisher.


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Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.

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