Why do people hate hospitals 1
doctors: Sick job
Chicken wings in the cafeteria? No way. Better the beetroot salad without dressing. Drink more than two liters of water a day. Avoid alcohol. At least seven hours of sleep a night. And before it gets too stressful: Do yoga after work. If you have a cold, of course, you stay in bed. Tablets at most when needed. And if it doesn't get better, the exam is postponed. How else should you get fit again?
You don't have to have studied medicine to know the recipe for a healthy life. But of all people, those who give such wise advice to others often fail to do it themselves.
Little sleep, high pressure, hardly any free time - that's everyday life for many doctors. This is shown by a survey of almost 4,000 hospital doctors published by the Marburger Bund doctors' union in November. In a survey from the previous year, half of those questioned stated that they worked up to 59 hours per week, and a quarter even up to 80 hours.
The medical profession is one of the most respected activities in Germany. Medicine is one of the most popular subjects. The NC is above average. The University Admissions Foundation has calculated that there were five applicants for a study place last year alone. In stark contrast to this are the poor working conditions that doctors later suffer from. Many stations are understaffed. 24-hour work and overtime are often part of the shift schedule.
Sure, many jobs are stressful, especially when starting a career. Teachers, doctoral students and investment bankers also work overtime. And doctors also earn well: the average wage for hospital doctors between the ages of 25 and 35, according to the salary database gehalt.de, is on average 53,000 euros gross per year. That is more than most academics can expect in the first few years of their career. But there is hardly any other job where you have as much responsibility as a doctor: Every decision can have consequences for the health or even the survival of a patient. One cannot allow oneself to make mistakes.
As early as 2011, it was said in a study by the Heidelberg University Hospital: "The medical profession is one of the most health-endangering activities." This is also confirmed by the current survey by the Marburger Bund: Almost three quarters of doctors said that their working hours would affect their health. Around 60 percent felt psychologically stressed. "The medical profession is embedded in a climate of time pressure and fear," says Bernhard Mäulen, head of the Institute for Doctors' Health in Villingen-Schwenningen. Mäulen has been researching the health risks of the medical profession for 35 years. Young doctors were also increasingly suffering from depression and burnout.
The amazing thing is that the conditions have hardly changed for years. On the contrary. "The number of patients and the administrative effort have risen sharply," says Hans-Jörg Freese from the Marburger Bund, "but the doctors don't get any more hours." Many hospitals are underfunded. Jobs are saved and the economic pressure is transferred to the doctors. "If it continues like this, many hospitals are threatened with insufficient supply," says Freese. Because if you barely sleep, don't take breaks and go to work with fear, in the worst case scenario, you will not only harm yourself, but also the patient.
There is a shortage of doctors in Germany, especially in rural areas. But even in many large cities, doctors do not have to search long for a job. Those in demand could protest for better conditions, apply to another clinic or take a well-paid job abroad. Even so, many endure their situation.
According to a survey by the AOK, doctors belong to the professional group with the fewest sick days per year. For Bernhard Mäulen from the Institute for Doctors' Health, this does not show that they are particularly healthy. "Most medical professionals cover up their problems," says Mäulen. "Shut up and keep going - that's a tradition in medicine," he says. Hans-Jörg Freese from the Marburger Bund calls the problem an "ethical trap". "The doctors are being exploited because you know they will not let the patients down".
Almost 75 percent of the doctors surveyed by the Marburger Bund stated in 2013 that they received little or no support from their superiors, and 60 percent also not from colleagues. Hospitals are organized very hierarchically. This also helps ensure that young doctors in particular do not complain. Because especially in the specialist training one is dependent on a good relationship with the chief physician.
Unlike in many other professions, doctors feel needed, sometimes even indispensable. Even in the survey conducted by the Marburger Bund, in which so many complain about their working conditions, 80 percent of those questioned state that they find their job "to a large extent meaningful and satisfactory". The fact that they identify with their job in this way also means that many do not complain.
Love of the job, fear, a sense of responsibility: these are reasons why many doctors do not defend themselves. Why not protest and often leave the hospital after your specialist doctor at the earliest. But that could change soon. Because even if the conditions have remained the same, the doctors are not: Shift work, overtime, stress - many imagine their life differently today. "The willingness to self-exploit is decreasing," says Hans-Jörg Freese from the Marburger Bund. OK then. After all, doctors would advise their patients to do the same.
* For this text, doctors have told us about their situation. Some wanted to remain anonymous, so we changed their names
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