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by Internet Medical Society

Physician satisfaction and burnout at different career stages

Let’s face it, physicians have a challenging job and face a lot of obstacles throughout their careers. It is therefore reasonable to wonder how satisfied they are with their job, how fatigued they are (both physically and mentally), and other challenges they experience during their career. Through a recent study some interesting information was gained as it explored the work lives, professional satisfaction, and burnout of US physicians by career stage and differences across sexes, specialties, and practice setting.

Some key findings include:

  • Early career physicians had the lowest satisfaction with overall career choice, the highest frequency of work-home conflicts, and the highest rates of depersonalization.
  • Physicians in middle career worked more hours, took more overnight calls, had the lowest satisfaction with their specialty choice and their work-life balance, and had the highest rates of emotional exhaustion and burnout.
  • Middle career physicians were most likely to plan to leave the practice of medicine for reasons other than retirement in the next 24 months. The challenges of middle career were observed in both men and women and across specialties and practice types.
  • Burnout, satisfaction, and other professional challenges for physicians vary by career stage. Middle career appears to be a particularly challenging time for physicians. Efforts to promote career satisfaction, reduce burnout, and facilitate retention need to be expanded beyond early career interventions and may need to be tailored by career stage.

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