Lifestyle & Belief

Doctors are burning out due to excessive work hours says a new study


Over half of doctors say they're burnt out from their excessive workload, shows a new survey.


Tullio M. Puglia

Burnout among doctors has reached an alarming level, a recent survey has concluded.

The survey of about 7000 physcians found that about half of the doctors said that the burnout was tied to long hours - with many surveyed often working more than 60 per week.

Many also felt cynicism, or "depersonalization," toward their patients, reported Reuters.

Rates of burnout were found to be far higher in those who worked in front line care like nurses or emergency personnel.

"The rates are higher than expected," said study author Tait Shanafelt of the Mayo Clinic, reported USA Today.

"We expected maybe 1 out of 3. Before health care reform takes hold, it's a concern that those docs are already operating at the margins."

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Yet, the results have to be read with caution.

Only 25 percent of doctors asked to complete the survey did so, which may mean that only those doctors with very strong opinions on the subject decided to reply, said MedPage Today.

For a control group, the researchers also surveyed nearly 3500 people who were not doctors to compare the results.

In general nearly half the physcians exprienced burnout while about 27 percent of the control group said they had symptoms of burnout such as a low sense of personal accomplishment and emotional exhaustion.

The survey was published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine.