Mental-health, coping and support following adverse events on the work-floor : a cross-sectional study among Dutch orthopaedic surgeons

Lynn M. Sligter, Minouk E. van Steijn, Karel Wf Scheepstra, Lea M. Dijksman, Henk Wj Koot, Marielle G. van Pampus

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Physicians are frequently exposed to adverse events on the work-floor, which puts them at risk for depression, anxiety- or posttraumatic stress disorder. This study aims to explore what events orthopaedic surgeons consider to have the highest emotional impact as well as support, coping strategies and mental health. A questionnaire was emailed to all members of the Dutch Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons which included resident, attending, non-practicing and retired orthopaedic surgeons. The questionnaire in- cluded questions about demographics, personal experiences and subsequent support and coping. Also the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Trauma Screening Questionnaire were included, which are validated screening instruments for anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), respectively. A total of 292 questionnaires were eligible for analysis. Most common events considered a high emotional impact stressor were : missing a diagnosis (59.2%), when a patient becomes severely handicapped (36.6%) or doubting whether one is making the right decision (36.6%). The prevalence of depression was higher compared to the general population with a high income in the Netherland (4.8 vs. 3.0 %,) and for anxiety as well (8.3 vs. 6.0%). Fifty-seven (19.5%) participants expe- rienced an adverse event as traumatic. Prevalence of PTSD was 0.3% among the whole sample. Most common coping strategies after adverse events were support from colleagues (80.7%), support from friends and family (59.3%) or doing sports (26.6%). Orthopaedic surgeons are exposed to many adverse events over the course of their career, which may have a high emotional impact. The prevalence rate found for depression and anxiety were both higher compared to the general population, while the rate for PTSD was lower. Still, more awareness must be created for the mental health of physicians as well as the implementation of a well-organized support system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-362
JournalActa orthopaedica Belgica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

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