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 Survey: Docs Face Stress, Burnout

Medicare, Medicaid Policies Among Major Causes

 Managing Editor

​Doctors are stressed out, according to a recent national survey of U.S. physicians. Conducted by Cejka Search, the survey found that the majority of U.S. physicians are moderately to severely stressed or burned out on an average day, with nearly 63 percent of respondents saying their stress has risen moderately to dramatically in the past three years.

Despite such a strain on this sector of the nation’s caregivers, only 15 percent of the survey respondents said their organizations have done anything to help them deal more effectively with their stress or burnout.

The survey, conducted in September 2011, also measured actions that hospitals, clinics, and health care organizations take to support and reduce physicians’ stress and burnout.

“[These] data show that physician stress and burnout is prevalent and increasing,” said Mitchell Best, chief operating officer of Physician Wellness Services, a sponsor of the survey. “Until now, little research has been done that delves into why physicians feel stress, the impact it has on their lives, and the impact physician stress has on patients.”

Medicare and Medicaid policies were among the top four causes of doctors’ stress and burnout, according to the survey. In addition, the economy, health care reform, and unemployed and uninsured patients were among the top stress factors.

The top four work-related stress factors were cited as administrative demands of the job, long work hours, on-call schedules, and concerns about medical malpractice lawsuits.

The stress has taken a toll on doctors’ personal lives, according to the survey. Fourteen percent of respondents indicated they had left their practice as a result of stress, while many cited fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability, and moodiness as consequences.

“Physicians are human beings with physical and emotional limitations,” said a survey respondent. “In order to perform better, we need better physical and emotional health and [a better] work environment.”

Nearly one-third of respondents said that better work hours/less on-call time and better work/life balance would help to reduce their stress.

For more information about the survey, go to: http://www.physicianwellnessservices.com/news/stresssurvey.php.  
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