A physician burnout crisis has emerged that has widespread consequences for all clinicians and patients. This is now causing staffing shortages and healthcare providers are changing professions and leaving the industry for good.
Burnout is more common in physicians than in the general population. It is linked to decreased quality of care, professionalism, patient safety, and physician quality of life. According to Becker Hospital Review, “A Medscape survey found 23 percent of physicians are depressed, 9 percent have thoughts of suicide and nearly half reported feeling they met the criteria for a psychiatric disorder during medical school but did not seek treatment, possibly due to mental health stigma.” Burnout as well as workplace stressors such as increased documentation requirements, lack of available support staff, and turnover of staff have led to many anesthesiologists to leave their profession.
And while there has been much research directed toward improving wellness, physicians still have much to learn. Physicians still are learning what makes one individual more prone to a burnout compared to others. Also, identifying the specific drivers of burnout relevant to anesthesiologists will help better target interventions. Physicians and hospitals are finding ways to address the systemic drivers of burnout. With fewer staff and increased burnout, physicians and hospitals are turning to new solutions to keep physicians in the field and bring joy back to the profession.