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Jon Snaedal


Background: The five Nordic countries and three territories have similar social structure that is based on parliamentarian democracy. The societies are characterized by strong well-fare support and national educational and health care systems. Because of this, the rate of taxes is among the highest in the world. Collaboration between the countries is considerable on all levels of societies. A good example of collaboration between NGO’s is the Nordic Council of Medical Associations.
Objective: To study work-life balance of physicians in the Nordic countries.
Methods: The Medical Associations in the Nordic countries were approached and asked for information on work-life balance of their respective members. 
Results: Studies on health and well-being of physicians made on behalf of the Nordic Medical Associations are not many but they show some worrying signs such as relatively high rate of burnout symptoms that seem to be on the rise but longitudinal data is scarce. In most of the studies, this is linked to heavy workload leading to emotional exhaustion and challenges in finding good work–life balance. There are also indications that loss of autonomy; conflicts at the work place and lack of resources are important causes of burnout symptoms.
Conclusion: Little has been published on the nature of the workload of physicians in the Nordic countries and whether it is affecting the very fundament of physicians’ work, that is, the relationship with the patient.

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Author Biography

Jon Snaedal

Professor in Geriatric Medicine, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland