Burnout – It’s Not Just a Problem for Physicians

Samuel Edwards, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Oregon Health & Science University, Staff Physician at VA Portland Health Care System


burnoutA great deal of attention is being paid to burnout among physicians, with studies reporting rates of up to 50% of physicians being affected. Furthermore, primary care physicians have above average rates. Preliminary data from EvidenceNOW surveys of ~6,000 personnel in ~900 small-to-medium primary care practices across the country demonstrates that the level of self-reported burnout among clinical and non-clinical staff, is almost as high as that of physicians. When more data is available and we can analyze it more fully, we will be able to provide a much more complete understanding of this problem. For now, though, it looks like we need to include other staff in our concerns and efforts to address burnout in primary care.


Additional Reading on Physician Burnout:

Shanafelt TD, Hasan O, Dyrbye LN, Sinsky C, Satele D, Sloan J, West CP. Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Balance in Physicians and the General US Working Population Between 2011 and 2014. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2015 Dec;90(12):1600-13. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.08.023. PMID: 26653297

Linzer M, Manwell LB, Williams ES, Bobula JA, Brown RL, Varkey AB, Man B, McMurray JE, Maguire A, Horner-Ibler B, Schwartz MD, MEMO (Minimizing Error, Maximizing Outcome) Investigators.Working conditions in primary care: physician reactions and care quality. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009 Jul 7;151(1):28-36, W6-9. PMID: 19581644