In 2011, a group of researchers embarked on a national study to measure burnout among physicians. They found that 45 percent of U.S. doctors met the criteria for burnout, which manifests as emotional exhaustion, a loss of meaning in one’s work, feelings of ineffectiveness, and a tendency to see people as objects rather than fellow humans. Less than a handful of years later, the problem has gotten significantly worse.
A key argument in the movement to expand sick leave to all workers is that such policies help curb the spread of contagious diseases. And there are few workplaces where that concept is more important than in health care settings, where common diseases can be especially dangerous for patients with compromised immune systems. However, a new study finds that despite such risks, doctors and nurses still feel pressured to report to work while sick.