“Burnout Suffered by 42% of Physicians”
A recent Medscape survey found that 42% of physicians report burnout. Physicians face “assembly-line medicine pressures,” merciless scheduling demands, battles with insurance companies, increasing regulations, and an explosion in scientific literature with which their knowledge must remain current. Their debt burdens often total hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they struggle in constant fear of malpractice suits. In medical school, professors teach their driven young students to put their own emotions aside, even as they attend to tragedy. A Mayo Clinic study showed an association between burnout and declining professional satisfaction with physicians reducing the number of hours they devote to clinical practice. Tragically, an even greater problem is the high rate of suicides amongst physicians and at least 400 doctors kill themselves annually, as of 2015. The current body of knowledge suggests burnout is driven by external factors, such as inefficient work processes, long work hours, heavy workloads, work–home conflicts, and organizational culture considerations. In 2018, 1,528 physicians at the Cleveland Clinic Health System were surveyed with the medical personnel version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory.