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Parallels Between Burnout and Workplace Violence in Health Care

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Next Professional Learning Series Webcast to address overlapping solutions to
two pervasive and growing problems.

by Patricia McTiernan

  Michael Privitera, MS, MD    


Burnout among health care professionals is on the rise, as is workplace violence in health care settings. Could efforts to reduce the overlapping organizational contributions to these problems be a strategy to prevention?


Michael Privitera, MS, MD, professor of psychiatry at University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, has long studied and written widely about this question and related issues. As medical director of the University of Rochester Medical Center Clinician Wellness Program and current chair of the Medical Society of the State of New York Task Force on Physician Stress and Burnout, he also sees the impact of burnout, bullying, and violence firsthand.


“Burnout affects the worker, other staff, the institution, and patients on a daily basis,” says Dr. Privitera. “We can no longer look at burnout as a problem for individual health professionals to solve on their own.”

Workplace violence, while not as common as burnout, includes not only physical harm, but also psychological and emotional harm from bullying, intimidation, or harassment.

Dr. Privitera has found that while the organizational contributors to burnoutsuch as time and production pressures, changes in technology, and regulatory requirementsare increasingly recognized, some of these same factors may also contribute to increased workplace violence in health care. Likewise, he suggests that some of the same efforts at reducing burnout may also help reduce workplace violence.

“The more we recognize and address overlapping root causes of burnout and workplace violence, the more effective and long lasting our interventions could be,” he says.


  Dr. Privitera will speak on this topic at the next Professional Learning Series Webcast, The Overlap between Organizational Contributions to Burnout and Workplace Violence…Is There Overlap of Solutions? Wednesday, December 7, 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time. Register at  

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Patricia McTiernan is editor of the P.S. Blog. Contact her at

Tags:  burnout  workplace violence 

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