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    Psychological pressure, exhaustion, low pay likely behind medical errors, say experts

    August 31, 2022

    Jordanian Medical Association Council member calls for cancellation of residency without payment

    AMMAN — The amount of psychological pressure which doctors and resident doctors are subjected to affects the quality of their work, and most likely leads to an increase in medical errors, according to experts.

    Psychiatrist and member of the Jordanian Medical Association Council Alaa Al Frokh said that resident doctors around the world are subjected to great psychological pressure due to the nature of their work, long working hours, in addition to exams, all of which make them more vulnerable to psychological disorders, such as depression.

    According to global scientific studies, 20 per cent of residents suffer from depression, and 74 per cent suffer from severe stress and burnout, Frokh noted.

    “These rates are global. However, due to the nature of the work environment and the health sector in Jordan, the percentage of doctors and residents who suffer from psychological conditions like depression is much higher here,” Frokh told The Jordan Times.

    Frokh indicated that doctors in Jordan work long shifts, often for more than 40 continuous hours without adequate sleep or rest, for low payment or no payment at all, which he considers “unreasonable”.

    “Many doctors get into traffic accidents due to overwork, and sometimes they die on the job due to heart attacks because of the stress. Many residents are also subjected to bullying and humiliation from their supervisors since they are considered trainees,” he added.

    Frokh stressed the need to reduce and regulate working hours for resident doctors, as well as to provide a supportive work environment, and comfortable, appropriate places for the doctors to rest.

    He also called for the cancelation of residency without payment, and further demanded a periodic psychological evaluation for both doctors and residents to ensure their psychological resilience, because “the damage is not only limited to them but reaches others, and increases chances of medical errors”, Frokh said.

    A resident doctor in a hospital in Amman who preferred to remain anonymous said that he works shifts for more than 30 consecutive hours.

    “We do not get the chance to have proper rest, we go on rounds continuously, in different departments and different buildings, which is both physically and mentally exhausting because we are not only trying to stay standing, but are giving all our power to stay focused,” he told The Jordan Times.

    Given the workload, it is “unfair” that residents do not get paid, he said.

    “The amount of JD90 is a very low payment for a resident doctor, and we do not get paid most months anyway,” he added.

    He called on the government and the Ministry of Health to “step up” and do what is right for doctors, and to improve the health sector in Jordan on all levels.

    Sociologist Hussein Khozahe said that work pressure and job dissatisfaction generate permanent depression, tension and anxiety in addition to physical and psychological exhaustion, which leads to alienation and dissatisfaction with work.

    “This makes them feel isolated from society, as if they live only to work and spend long hours of their daily life exhausted and stressed, which leads to many bad psychological conditions, and therefore, poor-quality work,” Khozahe told The Jordan Times.


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