Physician Burnout: It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Carol Peckham

Disclosures

January 26, 2015

In This Article

Age and Burnout

Younger physicians (those 35 and under) also reported high levels of burnout in general (44%) and in many larger specialties (Figure 7). The highest rates were in young physicians in small specialties: urology (63%), infectious disease (61%), and nephrology (53%). Of particular concern, however, is the high rate of burnout in generalists: young ob/gyns and internists (53%) and pediatricians (47%). But there is a lower percentage of burnout (43%) in young family physicians than in internists, which warrants some examination because physicians in the two primary care groups typically responded similarly to questions in this survey. A 2015 survey published by Merritt Hawkins, a major physician recruiting organization, reported that a quarter of residents regretted their choice of medicine and said they would choose another profession if they were starting over.[19] This percentage, however, has varied widely in previous surveys from the same recruiter (29% in 2011, 18% in 2008, 8% in 2005, and 24% in 2003), so it is difficult to determine whether this year's findings represent an upward trend.[20] In the 2015 Merritt Hawkins survey, 39% of residents said they are unprepared for the business side of medicine, and 59% reported having received no formal training on employment issues such as contracts, compensation, coding, and reimbursement methods.

Figure 7.

Burnout in physicians 35 years of age and younger.

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