Stressed doctors have only themselves to blame

Doctors
who claim to be overworked and stressed should think twice before blaming their
jobs, according to research.

Researchers
from University College London surveyed 1,668 doctors three times over the past
14 years. They found that doctors who claimed to be stressed out and overworked
were saying the same thing when they were studying medicine.

Writing
in the BMC Medicine journal, the researchers suggested personality traits were
often as much to blame as working conditions.

The
university first surveyed the doctors when they applied to study medicine. They
were questioned again when they were leaving medical school and again two years
ago.

The
researchers found that doctors who claimed to have heavy workloads often found
it difficult to organise their time effectively. Similarly, doctors who felt
they did not receive enough support from colleagues were themselves less
agreeable.

But
they also found that doctors who complained about workload and lack of support
at university, were most likely to be feeling stressed or burnt out in their
jobs.

In
addition, they said personality tests carried out in 1990 could have predicted
those most at risk.

Doctors
who claimed to be stressed at work struggled at university, often failing to
understand what was being taught and were also more likely to have personality
problems, said the research.

By Mike Berry

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