Physicians are faced with levels of burn-off that is absolutely off the charts. After all, it seems like the paperwork continues to pileup no matter how hard we try to get administrative tasks done, the pressure makes our days drag or speed up so much that we aren’t sure how we are going to live through each shift, and sometimes it can just leave us feeling absolutely out of gas.
Most Likely to Feel Drained
Although physician careers are the #1 type of job for burn-out, the highest rates of doctor exhaustion are seen in critical care and emergency medicine. Plus, surgeons, family physicians, and internalists reportedly have about a 50% chance of experiencing work-related burnout according to Medscape’s 2015 Physician Lifestyle Report.
Believe it or not, older physicians are less likely to report feeling burn-out than ones in younger age groups according to studies. For example, physicians over age 66 were only reporting a 22% burnout rate compared to physicians in ages 46 to 55 who experienced it at 53%.
Apparently, leadership roles are tied to burnout reports as well. Certain issues like “too many bureaucratic tasks, spending too many hours at work, and income not being high enough” were some of the causes of stress
Burn-out Causing Medical Errors
The most serious complication that can arise with overworked physicians is medical errors that are linked to the phenomenon. Most dire, is when physician burnout occurs for surgeons. Nearly 9% of surgeons believed that they had made a medical error within the past 3 months, according to a Mayo Clinic survey of nearly 8,000 surgeons. Even more terrifying is that the majority of these errors were described as due to “individual error” and not systematic. Physicians who reported these errors tended to have high levels of emotional exhaustion as well as signs of depression.
Exhaustion & Early Retirement
With such colossal weigh on the shoulders of practicing medical staff, it seems that opting for an earlier retirement is something that crosses many minds, at least in passing. But, how often is the hospital burn-out actually forcing doctors would of practice? Well apparently 60% of physicians wouldn’t even recommend the career to their own children while 6/10 said they would retire earlier than they planned.
However, planning to retire is a whole different ballgame than actually retiring.
It may be an American healthcare system that’s keeping our healthcare providers in the dumps and singing the stressed-out blues. One study found that physicians in the states were not as well-quipped to handle exhaustion from work and life conflicts than their European counterparts.