June 21, 2018
Mental Health: Nursing & quitting vs Physician suicides
Suicide and nursing are very rarely said in the same sentence. Burned out doctors choose suicide as a way out; burned out nurses just quit!
You see, nurses see quitting differently- they see quitting as a way of regaining sense of self; physicians more often times see quitting as failure. It is not! This mindset needs to be changed.
Quitting is NOT always failure though society has programmed us to see it that way. Rather quitting should be seen as an individual mentally recognizing that a situation is beyond their mental, physical or emotional capabilities to cope and hence they CHOOSE to quit.
When nurses get burned out, they think of a way out- whether trying another specialty or aspect of nursing or just leaving nursing profession completely. They do not automatically think suicide.
Mental health educational classes should be a requirement for all professions more especially healthcare. Doctors and nurses need to be provided coping tools before they even need it.
There are many examples of nurses who got burned out and quit see here
But sadly there are even more examples of doctors who got burned out and committed suicide, see here
Doctors have invested a lot and have so much to offer; suicide just ends it all. For the sanity and health of all involved, the stigma against mental health needs to be removed and there needs to be a paradigm shift that quitting is not always failure- sometimes, it is just for one’s sanity.
Quitting could save a life!
Darlene Fields, BSN, RN