Something is wrong


Fam Pract Manag. 2000 Jun;7(6):13.

To the Editor:

Thank you for the nice article about compassion fatigue [“Overcoming Compassion Fatigue,” [April 2000]. However, the next article, “How Emotional Distress Shapes the Patient Visit,” revealed the results of a study which found that emotionally distressed patients were seen an average of 11.5 minutes and patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety were seen an average of 12.8 minutes. How can any patient be seen in such a short amount of time? No wonder doctors — and patients — are burning out.

I'm a solo family physician in a suburban area of a major metropolitan city. I schedule 30 minutes for routine patient visits and one hour or more for new patients. This allows ample time for emotionally distressed patients to have their needs addressed. I love my work, and my patients love the care they get. My practice is emotionally and financially rewarding. Something is very wrong with the way medicine is being practiced if over half the physicians are feeling compassion fatigue and burnout.


Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact fpmserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions


Mar-Apr 2021

Access the latest issue
of FPM journal

Read the Issue

FPM E-Newsletter

Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights."

Sign Up Now