When you’re unwell, you go to the doctor. But what if your doctor isn’t feeling much better? Medical professionals are no stranger to burnout, though that doesn’t mean they can give adequate care through the ailment.

Up to 54% of doctors and nurses show signs of burnout, and research reveals that those numbers come in consistently across specialties. And when your healthcare provider is likely failing under the weight of weariness, it could be you that pays the price.

Clinical caution

The National Academy of Medicine reports that avoiding the causes of burnout is essential for quality care, but the healthcare system can be unforgiving from the start. Medical students and those in residency can see rates as high as 60% for burnout, and things don’t get any easier after school. Complex laws, excessive workloads and chronic stress are still waiting in facilities across the country to drive them toward exhaustion throughout their careers.

Concerning care

Those doctors and nurses that face this erosion every day are more likely to fail in their pursuit to help patients. Physicians who admit to experiencing a degree of burnout are over twice as likely to see medical missteps. Errors in judgment, diagnoses and technical performance can all lead to serious dangers for their patients.

While some establishments cut back hours in an attempt to curb incoming lawsuits, it’s often not enough to make a difference in a physician’s health. Grander changes in the system may be necessary, but they’re not likely on the horizon. Instead, physicians will have to continue to work through the symptoms. This, in turn, can make matters even worse, as mistakes further add to feelings of burnout.

The bottom line is that an unhealthy clinician will have more trouble contributing to the healing process. When their mistakes make it impossible for you to get the care you need, you may need to look to other avenues for the recovery you deserve.