The study aims to examine the several and heterogeneous factors on the ground of professional suffering and physician burnout. These factors are divided in 4 thematic areas which concern: 1) the motivational psycho(patho)logy and the subject’s personal story 2) Working environment and organization 3) the social and cultural contemporary reality and, finally, 4) the peculiar features of medical profession, which are linked to this kind of job. After a critical reflection about contemporary research, the study analyzes different authors’ opinion - such as G. Carloni, A. Ferro, I. Illich, J. Hillman e A. Güggenbuhl- Craig - about themes like the attitude to become a doctor, contemporary medicine’s problems and the characteristics of medical profession that involves a strong bond with sorrow and death. Afterwards, this work is going to focus on some subjects for debate about "burnout" and especially about the right definition of this word as a medical pathology or as social phenomenon and about its therapy. Is this critical word able to express the range of emotional pathology linked to medical profession? In the end, the study wants to claim the specificity and peculiarity of physician’s professional sorrow, which is considered an unavoidable part of this kind of job and so different from burn out. Give meaning to physician’s suffering and vulnerability without falling into insignificance and disvalue might be a possible cultural remedy to burnout and also to the illusion that nowadays medicine is all-powerful.
Keywords: Burnout, professional suffering, contemporary medicine, medical profession.