January 9, 2023

Trends in surgeon burnout

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, finds that contrary to popular perceptions, there is no evidence of rising surgeon burnout in the published literature.

Of 3,575 studies screened (publication dates from 1996 through 2021), 103 (representing 63,587 surgeons) met inclusion criteria.

Among the findings:

  • Overall, 41% of surgeons met criteria for burnout.
  • Trainees were more affected than attending surgeons (46% vs 36%).
  • Prevalence of burnout remained stable over the study period (-4.8% per decade).
  • Personal accomplishment scores remained unchanged.

The researchers concluded that although emotional exhaustion and depersonalization may be decreasing in surgeons, burnout levels remain unacceptably high, which indicates a need for interventions across training levels and specialties.


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