Physician Burnout

Work-related stress is an issue that doesn’t affect just one industry. Some of the most high-paying jobs in the country can’t escape the issue of burnout. Specifically, physicians across the country have faced increased levels of burnout since the beginning of the pandemic. Last year 53 percent of physicians reported burnout according to a Medscape report(Leslie 2023). 

This is an 11 percent jump from 2018 when only 42 percent of physicians reported burnout that year. The study broke it down into different specialties, with the top 3 being emergency medicine reported 65 percent burnout. Internal medicine with 60 percent burnout rate, and pediatrics with a 59 percent burnout rate.

Other specialties that were not that far behind were family medicine at 57 percent, and neurology and anesthesiology at 55 percent. Some of the lower physician specialties burnout rates would be cardiology at 43 percent and pathology at 39 percent. It’s clear that this burnout epidemic is getting worse with the amount of pressure that is being put on these physicians. Some argue that this condition could be a disorder that comes with the job. Researchers believe this could be an individual factor for each of the physicians that are going through this. For example, work-life balance and the environment that they work in could affect the mental health of the physician.

 Some experts believe that the conditions that come with burnout are similar conditions to that of other depression. If that is the case would depression medication help physicians? If that is the case there are different ways to combat this issue. One is on tackling this problem early by setting wellness programs in medical school before the physicians practicing medicine. There have been schools that have had successful results by having these programs. Northwestern and Vanderbilt are some examples of medical schools that pay attention to the personal health of there students. The results of these programs have reduced anxiety and depression in the student body.

It shouldn’t stop there, the process should go on during residency, and when they go on to their careers they should have access to programs and resources like this. This can help reduce some of the bureaucracy that is going on in multiple healthcare systems across the country. Studies will be conducted and we can see if this can help the progress of decreasing the stress levels of physicians and physician burnout across the United States and beyond.

Kane, Leslie. “Medscape Access.” Medscape, 27 Jan. 2023,