February 26, 2019

Physician well-being and burnout improving, but increased burnout risk remains

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

Though physician burnout and satisfaction with work-life integration are improving, physicians remain at high risk for burnout, compared to workers in other fields, this study finds.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic, Stanford University, and the American Medical Association surveyed 30,456 US physicians in more than 20 specialties; 5,197 (17.1%) completed the surveys, and a second attempt to reach respondents gained 248 more. This survey was compared with a previous study in 2014 and the original survey in 2011.

Burnout varied by specialist, but overall levels of burnout and satisfaction with work-life integration improved between 2014 and 2017, but only to 2011 levels.

When assessed with the Maslach Burnout Inventory, 43.9% of physicians reported at least one symptom of burnout in 2017, compared with 54.4% in 2014 and 45.5% in 2011.

Satisfaction with work-life integration was more favorable in 2017 (42.7%) than in 2014 (40.9%) but less favorable than in 2011 (48.5%).

On multivariate analysis, physicians were at increased risk for burnout and were less likely to be satisfied with work-life integration than other working adults in the US.

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