Burnout common in poor performing dentists

  • Date: 15 March 2011

High levels of stress and burnout as well as alcohol and drug misuse are all prevalent factors leading to poor performance among dentists according to a wide-ranging literature review published by the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS).

The Literature Review of factors influencing dental practitioner performance considers previously published work by academics around the world and concludes that high caseload, health concerns, practice environment, personal crises and feelings of isolation are also contributing factors which may lead to poor performance.

NCAS’ Associate Director of Dentistry, Dr Janine Brooks, said: "Dentistry has long been regarded as a highly stressful profession. However, to date there has been a lack of studies which have investigated factors associated with stress and its effect on performance.

"Dentists often experience sustained high levels of demand on their clinical expertise and, in addition, require strong inter-personal skills with the patients they treat. If they operate alone or within small teams, they may have no-one else to turn to. It is therefore of little surprise that these practitioners sometimes suffer from personal health problems such as burnout".

She added that it will be vital for more research to be conducted to gain a better understanding of the issues affecting performance among dental practitioners. NCAS receives between 80 and 100 referrals each year from healthcare organisations needing advice and support in regard to performance concerns of dental professionals.

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