7 stats on physician burnout amid COVID-19

Sixty-one percent of physicians reported experiencing burnout in 2021, up from 40 percent in 2018, according to a small survey the Physicians Foundation released Aug. 4.  

The survey is based on responses from 2,504 U.S. physicians collected between May 26 and June 9. Thirty-six percent of physicians were in primary care. The remaining 64 percent practiced in one of 27 specialties. 

Seven findings:

1. Sixty-nine percent of female physicians reported often feeling burned out, compared to 57 percent of male physicians.

2. Employed physicians (64 percent) were more likely to report burnout than independent physicians (56 percent). 

3. Primary care physicians (66 percent) were more likely to experience burnout than specialists (59 percent).

4. Fifty-seven percent of physicians reported inappropriate feelings of anger, tearfulness or anxiety because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Fourteen percent of physicians said they've sought medical attention for a mental health problem.  

6. Twenty percent of respondents said they know of a physician who has either considered, attempted or died by suicide during the pandemic. 

7. Physicians identified confidential therapy and counseling (83 percent) and evidence-based professional training (78 percent) as the two most important strategies to address mental health conditions, burnout and/or prevent suicide.


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