Burned Out? An Expert Explains How to Know and What to Do About It

John C. Hayes; Peter S. Moskowitz, MD


November 29, 2012

In This Article

Awareness of Burnout Is Increasing

Medscape: Is there a summary comment you can make about burnout in radiologists and physicians in general?

Dr. Moskowitz: What is encouraging to me as a radiologist is that awareness of this problem has been rapidly expanding. Our national organizations are beginning to recognize the significance of burnout, and are starting to seek solutions. Sponsoring programs and content help radiologists deal with this issue.

I think the next step must be for leaders in practices and departments to make this issue a priority. Radiologists and their leaders must work harder to create a healthy work environment for radiologists everywhere. Healthier, less stressed professionals are more productive and are happy.

As for other specialties in medicine, there really aren't that many differences, and certainly the solutions -- from an individual physician point of view and from physician organizations, hospitals, and clinics -- are the same as they are for radiologists. It's a challenge for medicine in the United States broadly that requires attention both from individual physicians, as well as support and attention from their organizations and their leaders. I think it's perhaps the biggest medical challenge in the next decade.

I'll illustrate that point with an anecdote. I was recently in Chicago and learned of a conference called "Nonclinical Careers for Physicians." I attended because I have clients who express an interest in moving into nonclinical careers. As it turns out, there were more than 300 physicians attending from all over the country. I found at least 8 radiologists looking to move out of the specialty, and there may have been many more. It's another expression of the seriousness of the burnout problem, further evidence that our specialty is really under fire.

Join our discussion of physician burnout: How are you and your colleagues coping? Please note that this is open to physicians only.