Burnout is a big and burgeoning problem in the United States. According to a recent Mayo Clinic report, it affects 28% of the general working population. Among physicians, however, the rate is markedly higher, ranging from 44% to 54% in most studies.
More concerning are the consequences: Doctors who report burnout symptoms are twice as likely to commit a medical error. They’re also twice as likely as their patients to commit suicide.
Though the physician “burnout crisis” has left many in the profession battered, bruised and pleading for help, there has been little noticeable improvement in recent years. To understand this strange division—between the urgency of the problem and the lack of effective solutions—I’ve surveyed patients and fellow physicians, scoured the latest research, news coverage and social media commentary.