mental health

A new code means employers must protect the mental health of workers. But will it work?

A new code means employers must protect the mental health of workers.  But will it work?
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When Dr. Hannah Szewczyk reflects on her medical career, she can’t remember ever feeling exhausted. But she says it may have happened without her realizing it.

“It’s tricky because I think (burnout is) also kind of normalized in medicine,” she told ABC RN’s This Working Life.

The chair of the Australian Medical Association’s Council of Physicians in Training says burnout is very common in the healthcare profession, and it’s something that’s been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic .

Dr. Szewczyk says there are several reasons for this, including long hours.

“But there are also other things that contribute. Many doctors in training and young doctors do not always feel valued by their workplace. They feel like they are just another cog in the production line,” she says.

“It’s also a very stressful job. There’s a lot of pressure… there’s a lot of life and death in the hospital. There’s also this risk of hurt feelings. And I think that all contributes to burnout.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the difficult working conditions for Australian healthcare workers.()

Burnout clearly has a significant impact on this sector. Last year, a study of nearly 8,000 healthcare workers found that one in 10 had thoughts of suicide or harming themselves during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s really, really late”

Medical workers aren’t the only ones facing serious mental health risks in the workplace. It has also been reported that a shortage of teachers is causing burnout in the sector, while other industries, such as hospitality, can have unhealthy workplace expectations.

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