05/17/18 — Doctor publishes book on health issue plaguing many professions ---- burnout

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Doctor publishes book on health issue plaguing many professions ---- burnout

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 17, 2018 11:50 AM

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Dr. Clark Gaither, former family physician in Goldsboro, has recently released his fourth book, "Reignite," about the epidemic of professional burnout.

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Dr. Clark Gaither

Former family physician Dr. Clark Gaither has released his fourth book, fittingly on a topic he battled in the medical profession -- burnout.

After a 27-year career in clinical medicine, 24 of those in Goldsboro, he closed up shop in 2016 and headed to the mountains.

But he said at the time, it would not be a traditional retirement.

He maintained his ties to Wayne County, continuing on as medical director for the WATCH mobile medical unit he helped launch.

It would be his own experiences that led to his current efforts, all on the topic that earned him the nickname, "Dr. Burnout."

The by-product is an occupational hazard in any profession, he said, but particularly for those in health care.

"Left unchecked it can turn people to self-destructive behaviors, depression," he said.

His passion for the subject, and desire to support and help others navigating such situations, led to his involvement with the N.C. Physicians Health Program, or NCPHP, based in Raleigh.

"This is where you refer physicians, if they have gotten into some trouble with alcohol or drugs," he explained. "It's been around since 1988.

"I started part-time, and they didn't have a medical director until I was hired in 2017."

He divides his time between Raleigh and his home in Asheville.

And retirement, again, has been recalibrated as he pursues other interests.

He divides his time as a blogger, keynote speaker, corporate consultant and personal life coach -- and now author of four books, including his latest, "Reignite," delving into the hot topic of professional job-related burnout,  which he calls an epidemic in many professions.

"I'm pulling on a lot of threads from my past that just all kind of came together," he said.

There are all types of burnout and underlying causes, Gaither said.

The national "burnout rate" is 55.5 percent for physicians, he said, listing several causes as work overload, lack of control, absence of fairness, breakdown of community, insufficient reward and conflicting values.

The symptoms and outcomes are not limited to doctors and those in the medical profession, though, he pointed out.

"Plumbers, electricians, it's for anyone that's got job-related issues and the highest numbers we see in health care, teachers, social workers, financial analysts, lawyers, police officers, firefighters, burnout rates are high and climbing," he said.

For more information on Gaither or his book, check out his website, www.clarkgaither.com.