Physician Burnout: A Deep Dive (Part I)

Few professions are mentally or physically more taxing than medicine. Physicians, in particular, face long hours and considerable stress. With over one-quarter of doctors working between 61 and 80 hours per week, it’s easy to see why burnout is at an all-time high. In this two-part article, we’ll investigate the prevalence of burnout and the reasons behind its dramatic rise in the medical profession.

How Common Is Physician Burnout?

In 2016, the Mayo Clinic published a physician study in which 54.4 percent of respondents admitted to suffering at least one symptom of burnout in 2014. Sometimes, this burnout proves fatal; according to an alarming Medscape survey, physicians suffer one of the highest suicide rates among a broad range of stressful professions. What’s more, experts suspect that the suicide rate among doctors is widely underreported. Additionally, many suffer addiction or depression, which they may fail to address due to considerable stigma among their professional peers.

Why Are Physicians Struggling?

As mentioned earlier, physicians work long, action-packed hours. This is particularly true of young professionals; a report from AMA Insurance indicates that only 13 percent of doctors under the age of 40 work fewer than 40 hours per week. Those who work the longest hours tend to have the lowest rates of job satisfaction.

Even physicians fortunate enough to work reasonable hours face considerable stress. Dealing with sick or hurt patients is stressful in the best of circumstances, but add administrative requirements, call rotation hassles, and poor leadership from supervisors, and it’s easy to see why so many doctors struggle. The current professional culture mandates that doctors never show weakness, so emerging issues are rarely addressed before they lead to full-blown burnout.

Do you suspect physician burnout is to blame for your current suffering? You deserve recourse. Regan Zambri Long PLLC has a strong background in medical malpractice; reach out today to learn more about your options.