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Tackling Burnout

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:00

Research shows that physician burnout takes a toll on patient care and outcomes, and nearly half of all U.S. pediatricians surveyed in 2014 (n=683) reported burnout — up from 35 percent for general pediatricians and 40 percent for pediatric subspecialties in 2011. Comparatively, the overall prevalence of burnout for the general U.S. working population was 28.4%.1 Physician burnout has been tied to decreased productivity, lower quality of care, decreased patient satisfaction, and problems with patient safety.2

Dr. Laurel Leslie“Burnout is caused by professional, personal, and systems factors,” says Laurel Leslie, MD, MPH, ABP Vice President for Research. “There are two ways we can approach this. One is we can try to decrease systems factors linked to burnout, and the other is we can try to increase professional and personal resilience skills to be able to manage the stresses associated with work. For the most part, system-level interventions have been shown in research studies to have a greater effect than professional and personal interventions.”


1Shanafelt TD, Hasan O, Dyrbye LN, Sinsky C, Satele D, Sloan J, West CP. Changes in burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance in physicians and the general US working population between 2011 and 2014. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90(12):1600-1613. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.08.023.
2Shanafelt TD, Goh J, Sinsky C. The business case for investing in physician well-being. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(12):1826-1832. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.4340.
3Shanafelt TD, Noseworthy JH. Executive leadership and physician well-being: nine organizational strategies to promote engagement and reduce burnout. Mayo Clin Proc. 2017;92(1):129-146. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.10.004.