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News on Occupational Burnout from the National Academy Press, National Academy of Sciences and Harvard Business Review

There have been three recent events about occupational burnout of great note:

1) Maslach Burnout Inventory and Areas of Worklife author, Christina Maslach, has been honored with this year’s National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Reviewing for her pioneering research on job burnout and worker wellbeing.

2) The National Academy Press published an excellent report Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being. You can download it for free on the NAP website. To quote from the report, "Burnout is a work-related phenomenon. WHO defines burnout as a problem associated with employment, not as an individual mental health diagnosis, and sees it as distinct from mood disorders. Maslach’s definition of burnout—a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment—and the accompanying measurement tool, the MBI, are the most widely used definition and measurement tool in studies of clinician burnout." (p. 55)

3) The Harvard Business Review article, Burnout Is About Your Workplace, Not Your People is also very clear about burnout being a workplace phenomenon. The article included this wonderful description of burnout from Christina Maslach: "In our interview, Maslach asked me to picture a canary in a coal mine. They are healthy birds, singing away as they make their way into the cave. But, when they come out full of soot and disease, no longer singing, can you imagine us asking why the canaries made themselves sick? No, because the answer would be obvious: the coal mine is making the birds sick."