About half of all doctors feel burned out, survey reveals

Chicago residents are likely to understand feeling extremely worn out physically, mentally and emotionally after a long work week. By the time Friday comes around, workers are ready to take a couple of days to catch up on sleep and to recharge so that they can return to work on Monday feeling refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.

But doctors don’t always get enough time to recharge after long shifts, and instead of getting the rest they need to feel 100 percent focused and attentive to what they are doing, many doctors go through their workdays feeling drained. According to a new survey, doctors are more likely to feel burned out on the job compared to other workers. This is concerning when it comes to patient safety. Anyone knows how easy it is to make minor mistakes when one is too tired to think clearly. But when doctors make any mistake when treating a patient, the consequences could be severe.

Results from the survey were surprising for researchers. Almost half of the doctors who responded to the survey admitted that they suffered from burnout due to work.

More than 7,200 doctors participated in the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) survey in 2011. The doctors filled out the MBI and made a note of their work schedules, any depression or symptoms of depression and their life satisfaction. They also answered questions regarding cynical emotions, a loss of passion for their job and emotional exhaustion.

Doctors working in areas including preventative medicine, pediatrics, pathology and dermatology were the lowest on the scale for feeling exhausted from their jobs. Sixty percent of doctors in family medicine, emergency medicine and general internal medicine claimed they frequently felt burned out.

When doctors treat patients, they must be attentive and focused in order to provide quality care. When doctors deviate from the standard of care, they are committing medical malpractice.

Source: CNN, “Is your doctor burned out?” Alexandra Sifferlin, Aug. 23, 2012

  • Our firm represents patients and their families who have been harmed by medical negligence matters including doctor errors. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Cook County medical malpractice page.

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