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Has burnout among U.S. physicians reached a critical level?
The Medscape Lifestyle Report 2016 – a survey of more than 15,800 physicians representing 25 specialties – shows an increase in burnout across the board. Burnout is defined as “loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism and a low sense of personal accomplishment.”

  • The top five most burned-out specialties are: critical care, urology and emergency medicine (55 percent each), followed by family medicine and internal medicine (54 percent each).

  • When asked to rank their burnout on a scale of 1 to 7, critical care scored the highest, at 4.7. Rheumatologists and psychiatrists reported the lowest burnout ratings, at 3.9.

  • More female physicians expressed burnout than their male peers (55 vs. 46 percent).

  • The top three causes of burnout were: too many bureaucratic tasks, too many work hours and increasing computerization.

  • Other contributing factors included: Maintenance of Certification requirements, “feeling like a cog in a wheel,” insurance issues, threat of malpractice, the change to ICD-10, lack of patient respect and appreciation, and family stress.

  • Dermatologists (39 percent) and ophthalmologists (38 percent) were the happiest at work. Internists (24 percent) and intensivists (25 percent) were the least happy at work.

  • Nephrologists (68 percent) Swipe to advance were the happiest at home, followed by dermatologists (66 percent) and pulmonologists (65 percent).

  • The most active physicians (those who exercise at least twice a week) are dermatologists (72 percent), orthopedists (69 percent) and ophthalmologists (68 percent). The least active are psychiatrists (43 percent) and endocrinologists (50 percent).

  • Dermatologists and ophthalmologists reported the lowest rates of being overweight (23 and 28 percent, respectively). The heaviest physicians are pulmonologists (51 percent), family physicians (49 percent) and emergency medicine physicians (47 percent).

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