Report Finds Higher Rates of Physician Burnout in Recent Years

According to an article published by the American Medical Association (AMA), “Three in five physicians reported at least one manifestation of burnout during the height of the Omicron wave that struck the U.S. during the winter of 2021–2022, pushing physician burnout rates to an all-time high and demonstrating more than ever the need for a renewed national commitment to bolster the physicians and other health professionals who have worked so tirelessly to save countless lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The AMA article highlights findings published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The study, “Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Integration in Physicians Over the First 2 Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” also found a decrease in work-life integration (46.1% in 2020 to 30.2% in 2021) and a modest increase in depression scores (49.5% in 2020 to 52.5% in 2021), suggesting that burnout is primarily due to work-related distress. Furthermore, the study found notable decreases in professional fulfillment scores (40% in 2020 to 22.4% in 2021) and indications that respondents would choose to become a physician again (72.2% in 2020 to 57.5% in 2021)

According to the AMA article, “Between Dec. 9, 2021, and Jan. 24, 2022, nearly 2,500 U.S. physicians responded to a survey by researchers from the AMA, the Mayo Clinic, Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The researchers found that, overall, 62.8% of physicians had at least one manifestation of burnout in 2021, compared with 38.2% in 2020, 43.9% in 2017, 54.4% in 2014 and 45.5% in 2011. These trends were consistent across nearly all specialties.”

The article and original study indicate that “even as early issues of insufficient personal protective equipment, increased workload, risk of infection, and lack of vaccinations and COVID-19 treatments have improved, physicians are still struggling with new challenges.” These challenges “have all contributed to a significant spike in the overall rate of physician burnout compared to earlier triennial surveys.”

To read the AMA article, see here

To read the full paper see here


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