Physician Burnout Pervasive: 1 in 2 Internists Affected

Cheryl Clark, August 21, 2012

Physicians are more likely to be burned out and dissatisfied with life than workers in other professions, more stressed than other workers of similar education levels, and ED doctors, internal medicine specialists, and neurologists are the most burned out of all.

Physician satisfaction with work-life balance by specialty

That's according to a study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine that is the first to use a recognized scientific survey to compare levels of burnout and exhaustion among 24 physician specialty groups.

For example, 65% of emergency room doctors, 55% of internists, and 52% of neurologists indicated they were burned out. The study found 45% of general surgeons, 40% of neurosurgeons, 32% of dermatologists, and 30% of preventive or occupational or environmental medicine practitioners indicated burnout.

Among other specialty practices, family medicine doctors reported 50% burnout rates, otolaryngologists, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, obstetrician/gynecologists, radiologists and physical medicine specialists reported between 46% and 50%.


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