by Linda Carroll
Overall, 45 percent of residents reported at least one symptom of burnout at least once a week, while 14 percent reported career choice regret. While once a week may not sound like a lot, physicians who feel burnout this often are more likely to report thinking about suicide, making a major medical error and wanting to leave medicine, said lead author Dr. Lotte Dyrbye, who co-directs the physician well-being program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Burnout is very much a real thing,” Dyrbye said. And it’s especially prevalent among physicians, Dyrbye said, noting that while doctors may have close to a 50 percent burnout rate, among other U.S. workers the rate is under 30 percent. Still, Dyrbye said, “We need more research in the field with good attention to method.”
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Context: Resident physician burnout in the U.S. is widespread, with the highest rates concentrated in certain specialties, according to research from Mayo Clinic, OHSU and collaborators. The findings appear on Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Physician burnout is a dangerous mix of exhaustion and depersonalization that contributes to physicians making mistakes while administering health care.
The study found 45 percent of respondents experienced at least one major symptom of burnout, with those in urology, neurology, emergency medicine and general surgery at the highest risk. Regardless of specialty, high levels of anxiety and low levels of empathy reported during medical school were associated with burnout symptoms during residency.
“Our data show wide variability in the prevalence of burnout by clinical specialty, and that anxiety, social support and empathy during medical school relate to the risk of burnout during residency,” says Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher and first author of the article. You can read more about the study on Mayo Clinic News Network.
Contact: Bob Nellis