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Almost half of U.S. doctors report signs of job burnout

Doctors who are burned out on their jobs have an increased risk for not only personal problems, but also for job-related problems, like making medical mistakes, compromising their quality and standard of care, and being tired on the job.

According to a study led by researchers at the American Medical Association and the Mayo Clinic, roughly half of doctors surveyed reported at least one symptom of job burnout. Broken down, 37.9 percent reported a high level of emotional exhaustion and another 29.4 percent reported depersonalization. Another 12.4 percent reported feeling a low sense of accomplishment.

More hours worked during the week may also have something to do with the level of burnout too as on average physicians worked 50 hours a week and were more likely than the average worker to put in 60 hour weeks.

When asked about work-life balance, more than 40 percent reported not having the right balance and that their profession just didn't leave enough time to spend with family or to have a personal life.

These findings led researchers to conclude that the level U.S. doctors are experiencing burnout at is "alarming." It was also noted that the burnout rate for doctors appears to be increasing and that this level is higher than the general public's.

Looking to the future, considering the higher risk of medical mistakes associated with doctor burnout, the hope is that more research will be done in order to figure out ways to better support U.S. physicians in order to prevent burnout and therefore prevent medical errors.


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