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A Growing Number Of Physicians Say They Wouldn't Recommend A Career In Medicine. Why?

A survey released earlier this year has indicated that a relatively large percent of physicians would have to think twice before recommending a career in medicine to others. The main culprit behind this statistic is physician burnout - the loss of passion, enthusiasm, and overall emotional collapse that a physician experiences as a result of their profession.

Though physician burnout is not a new issue, the survey was different from previous research because it accounted for recent developments such as how the electronic medical records, the Affordable Healthcare Act, and the pressures of the “more-patients, more revenue” model.

Several valuable insights were discovered regarding the way burnout physicians feel, and how they came to form their opinions:

  • 74% of US PCPs and ER doctors surveyed do not feel their health care organization is taking effective steps to address and prevent burnout.
  • PCPs and ER doctors have historically reported the highest burnout rates, and this finding is also supported by a Medscape Lifestyle survey. 57% of these physicians have personally experienced burnout themselves, while 37% know someone else that has. 
  •  37% of revealed that they felt frustrated by their work several times daily or weekly.

Feeling as though there is little time available to provide a desirable level of care was cited as the top reason for physician burnout. One physician revealed that, “I'm trying to balance the need to work faster, see more patients, generate more income for others, i.e. ACO's, hospitals, insurers against the fear of error facing irate families, malpractice injuries.  It hardly seems worth the trouble when all I wanted to do was practice medicine and help people.” 

The key insight from the survey that should be taken with most concern is the large number of physicians that feel their practice or hospital is not helping to address and provide solutions to burnout. Though InCrowd notes at least 30 teaching hospitals have implemented strategies that attempt to tackle burnout before it starts to effect patient care, getting issue of getting the message out there to physicians in the field may need to be explored.

Organizations such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) hold physician conferences that specifically address the evolving healthcare industry, and recently had a session titled “Rediscovering the Joy in Practice: Addressing Physician Burnout to Improve Patient Care”. The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center of Georgetown University utilizes a more creative approach, allowing all staff to engage in dance, pottery, and painting sessions to unwind and refocus.

Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.