Recent media coverage draws further attention to the important issue of workplace burnout. Recently recognised as a workplace phenomenon by the World Health Organisation, this issue has a huge human impact upon those in who work in health care, as well as a vicarious effect on patient safety. A screening instrument similar to the well-known “CAGE” questionnaire used to detect alcohol use disorders has been proposed:

  1. has anyone close to you asked you to cut down on your work?
  2. in recent months have you become angry or resentful about your work or about colleagues, clients or patients?
  3. do you feel guilty that you are not spending enough time with your friends, family or even yourself?
  4. do you find yourself becoming increasingly emotional, for example crying, getting angry, shouting, or feeling tense for no obvious reason?

Answering these questions in the affirmative should provide pause for further consideration.

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