U.S. Doctors’ Burnout Decreasing, Work Satisfaction Increasing

Burnout and satisfaction with work-life integration among physicians in the U.S. improved between 2014 and 2017, according to updated findings from Mayo Clinic, American Medical Association, and Stanford University researchers. However, physicians remain at increased risk for burnout and depression relative to other professionals. The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers conducted an initial study of burnout and job satisfaction levels in 2011. With this update, they surveyed U.S. physicians across more than 20 specialties to assess any changes since the original report. They found that more doctors expressed satisfaction with work-life integration in 2017 (42.7%; n=2,056/4,809) than in 2014 (40.9%; n=2,718/6,651; p<0.001), but the number was down from 2011 (48.5%; n=3,512/7,244; p<0.001).

Researchers attribute the progress to physicians adapting to the new work environments, as well as the success of interventional programs within hospitals to stem burnout. Also, many distressed physicians suffering from burnout may have opted to leave the profession.

“This is good news. It shows that burnout is being addressed nationally and programs are having some impact,” senior author Lotte Dyrbye, MD, said in a press release announcing the study’s publication. “Clearly more organizational change and more research is needed to sustain this trajectory.”

Sources: Stanford Medicine press release, February 22, 2019; Mayo Clinic press release, February 22, 2019.