From residents to academic chairpersons, the level of burnout in anesthesiology is high. That is according to two recent studies published in the January 2011 issue of Anesthesiology.
In one study, researchers from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine conducted an online survey of all perioperative personnel. Featured in Risk of Burnout in Perioperative Clinicians: A Survey Study and Literature Review, researchers concluded physicians, especially residents, appeared to have an increased risk of burnout. Although it affected all personnel, residents felt the greatest impact in areas of health, personal support and workload.
The second study surveyed academic anesthesiology chairpersons and had a very high participation rate (87 percent). Conducted by researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the survey revealed that 51 percent of the chairpersons exhibited a high risk of burnout. The study found the level of depersonalization and emotional exhaustion was higher in anesthesiology chairpersons than for other department chairs, including obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology and otolaryngology.
With the decreasing supply of anesthesia providers and the increasing demand for services, the issue of burnout is a serious concern. Both studies encourage further research with a goal of developing treatment measures for improvement.