Specialties With the Highest and Lowest Rates of Burnout

Burnout is a major obstacle for Physicians that affects their happiness, relationships, career, and the care they provide. It has been described as long-term, unresolvable job-related stress that leads to exhaustion, cynicism, feelings of detachment from one’s job responsibilities, and lack of a sense of personal accomplishment.

A new triennial study from Medscape, shows five years ago the overall Physician burnout rate was 46% and is now down to 42%.

The survey asked about the prevalence of Physician burnout factors and how they affect Doctors’ lives. More than 15,000 Physicians from 29 specialties responded.

“The percentage of Physicians feeling burned out remains fairly consistent. The leading cause is administrative burden, as driven by the workplace and organizational culture, said Frank John Ninivaggi, MD at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Other factors contributing to burnout is long hours, overwhelming work load, and lack of support.

The highest percentage of Physician burnout occurred among these medical specialties:

  • Urology: 54%
  • Neurology: 50%
  • Nephrology: 49%
  • Diabetes and endocrinology: 46%
  • Family medicine: 46%
  • Radiology: 46%

The lowest percentage of Physician burnout were among these medical specialties:

  • Public health and preventive medicine: 29%
  • Ophthalmology: 30%
  • Orthopedics: 34%
  • Psychiatry: 35%
  • Otolaryngology: 35%
  • General surgery: 35%



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