General Practitioner and Occupational Doctor
I’m Doctor Johan Knockaert MD. I worked as a General Practitioner and an Occupational Doctor. I built up important knowledge and experience in burn-out, especially in working circumstances. My experience extends to a lot of sectors. I describe myself as sportive and ex-perfectionist, with a broad range of interests and still very triggered by challenges.
Burn-out is mostly a combination of circumstances and character properties .
If you recognise lasting fatigue, negative emotional reactions, difficulty to take emotional distance, overreaction or irritability, it may indicate burn-out, or evolution towards burn-out.
As a medical doctor who has suffered burn-out, I have professionally built up a lot of knowledge and experience with burn-out. In literature burn-out is often wrongly confused or associated with depression.
Beside the person who suffers burn-out, it may also be important to support his closest social circle.
The past, the present and the future need to be taken into consideration in the recovery of burn-out.
I Worked as a General Practitioner and as an Occupational MD. The Job content as an occupational doctor was to protect and improve the wellbeing at work: taking actions to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the workers and diminish work related risks
- Doctor Johan Knockaert MD
- Doctor in Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics: University of Louvain, Belgium
- General Practitioner: University of Louvain, Belgium
- Master in the healthcare of the elderly: University of Louvain, Belgium
- Master in occupational medicine: University of Ghent, Belgium
Sectors where I worked for as an occupational doctor
Non industrial: Medical doctors and paramedics, security and money transport, workers in public services, food production and distribution
Industrial: Petrochemistry and plastics, car production plant and car maintenance plants, transport plants and logistic plants, road construction, building companies, and building suppliers, Steel production plants and metal workers, woodworkers, furniture production, printing plant
Burn-out is a severe physical fatigue often accompanied by concentration difficulties, memory troubles, irritabilities, intolerances, sudden emotional irascibilities and difficulties to judge.
If somebody starts showing negative emotional reactions such as nervousness, difficulty to take emotional distance of (negative) situations, overreaction, irritability and such, it may indicate burn-out or a risk of burn-out. Mostly the people around the affected person are the first to see there is something wrong. I often have seen the wife or husband to be desperate.
Circumstances & Character Properties
Uninteresting parts of the job, shortage of recognition, continuous change of decisions made by a companies direction, decisions made by authorities that need to be followed but are considered as waste of time, stupid or counterproductive may cause or contribute to burn-out.
We must also take into consideration that the person himself or his surroundings may execute pressure on the person to go on doing things that are more than the job description or even add to it, just because that person did more than he needs to in the past. It is my experience that the job content and job organisation contributes much more to burn-out than the working time per week.
Problem solving people, perfectionists and professionally very motivated people are more at risk of burn-out.
The important steps in the support of a person suffering burn-out are:
A: Setting up a recovery scheme
B: Stimulating healing and preventing relapse
What caused burn-out to that person? Which decisions are to be made?
Who will support the person and help him to prevent returning to the ways that caused burn-out? (spouse? colleague?…) and in what way should they to do it?
C: Quality time as counter balance
Sometimes circumstances have more influence than our decisions. Introducing quality time with family, hobbies, sport, trips and so on are very helpful.
I got burn-out in 2013. Though I had treated patients with burn-out and I knew the symptoms, I was at first in denial. The moment I recovered enough to take decisions I laid down my team leadership for the medical doctors and nurses in the company I worked for, to concentrate only on my work as an occupational doctor. Consequently, the company decided to fill in the management time with so called “consultations with added value”. This means that a lot of workers with major health problems came to consult me. This caused me to have a lot of consultations helping people who suffered burn-out. I also often diagnosed burn-out, which gave me a lot of practice concerning burn-out besides following up literature about burn-out.
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