I wrote last year in USA Today about the impact of physician burnout. Not only do doctors suffer, but so do their patients.
Burnout starts early in residency, with entering interns having a depression rate of 4 percent, similar to the general public. But after the first year of residency, that number balloons to 25 percent.
Now another study adds fuel to this disturbing trend. A paper published in the Archives of General Surgery looks at the prevalence of physician burnout in surgeons:
In a national survey, one in 16 surgeons reported contemplating suicide, researchers reported.
An increased risk of suicidal ideation was linked to three factors: depression, burnout, and the perception of having made a recent major medical error …
… But only about one in four of those who reported thinking about taking their own lives sought psychiatric or psychologic help.
The rate of suicidal ideation in surgeons, at 6.3 percent, was almost double of that in the general population (3.3 percent).
Physician burnout is a phenomenon that’s often ignored. The practice environment is deteriorating, with increasing time pressures and worsening bureaucratic burdens. Little of this is addressed in the national health conversation, or in the recently passed health reform law. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*