Physician Burnout: Stop Blaming the Individual
My First Post on the Topic of Physician Well Being
This page is a starting point for me to share what I learn about physician burnout and well-being.
I think about the work-life imbalance that we all keep trying to balance as I watch and listen colleagues who love to take care of patients but who struggle to find time for personal life. The challenges are real and the solutions are not easy.
If you want to dive into the topic and learn about the views from one of the top researchers in the field, Dr. Tait Shanafelt, watch his ten minute video Physician Burnout: Stop Blaming the Individual where he gives a great overview of the topic.
2014 Study: Nearly 7000 Physicians Report a Decline In Work-Life Balance
Dr. Shanafelt, al. at the Mayo Clinic reported in 2015 (3) survey data indicating the problem of physician burnout is getting worse and that it is more common than the general population.
Key Points in This Paper
- 6880 physicians (19% of invited participants) responded to questions from the Maslach Burnout Inventory
- Satisfaction with work-life balance (WLB)which is a major component of burnout, declined in physicians between 2011 and 2014 (48.5% vs. 40.9%)
- And this decline in work life balance persisted after adjusting for multiple variables
- Satisfaction with WLB improved for the same period for the general US working population (55.1% vs. 61.3%)
Dr. Tait Shanafelt, MD, is the Director of the Mayo Clinic Department of Medicine Program on Physician Well-Being, Mayo Clinic and Dr. Christine Sinsky, MD, is Vice President, Professional Satisfaction, American Medical Association are among the coauthors of this study and considered thought leaders in this topic. A few of their key papers are listed in references below.
My Personal Interests
I am very interested in the intersection of the EHR and physician burnout and what solutions are available on the short-term as we all think about long-term multidimensional interventions to mitigate burnout and enhance physician well-being.
Many forces are bearing down on the complex multi-dimensional outcome of professional burnout. Burnout occurs across many roles in health care workforce, is real and has real negative implications for health care.
To deepen my understanding of this problem I am spending more time reading the literature, listening to colleagues and thinking about how to make working with our EHR at UofM easier to learn and to use.
On a personal level, trainees and colleagues, and my children and family ask me, would you chose the path to become a physician again?
The answer is absolutely, YES.
I would do it again, but I would make sure that I spent more time on what matters most to me, defining goals more realistically and placing my personal time with family at a higher priority then I have done. More on that later.
As physicians working toward shared goals, we can and do learn a lot from each other.
Raf Rizk, MD
1. Sinsky, C. A. & Willard-Grace, R. In search of joy in practice: a report of 23 high-functioning primary care practices. The Annals of Family (2013).
2. Bodenheimer, T. & Sinsky, C. From triple to quadruple aim: care of the patient requires care of the provider. Ann Fam Med 12, 573–576 (2014).
3. Shanafelt, T. D. et al. Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Balance in Physicians and the General US Working Population Between 2011 and 2014. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 90, 1600–1613 (2015).
4. Shanafelt, T. D. et al. Relationship Between Clerical Burden and Characteristics of the Electronic Environment With Physician Burnout and Professional Satisfaction. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 91, 836–848 (2016).
5. Shanafelt, T. D., Dyrbye, L. N., West, C. P. & Sinsky, C. A. Potential Impact of Burnout on the US Physician Workforce. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 91, 1667–1668 (2016).