COVID-19 Drives Physician Burnout for Some Specialties

January 29, 2021 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Engagement & Morale, Health and Wellness

Last modified February 1, 2021

Physician burnout remains at a critical level, at 42% overall. According to Medscape’s ‘Death by 1000 Cuts’: National Physician Burnout & Suicide Report 2021, COVID-19 has changed the specialties hit hardest.

Data were collected from August 30 through November 5, and more than 12,000 physicians from 29 specialties responded. For many, (79%), burnout has been building over years, but for others, (21%), it started with the pandemic. Factors cited include lack of adequate PPE, grief from losing patients, watching families suffer, long hours, and difficult working conditions.

Critical care physicians are now at the top of the list of physicians experiencing burnout at 51%, followed by rheumatologists (50%) and infectious disease specialists (49%). 49% of urologists also reported burnout.

In this particular survey, 13% of physicians had thoughts of suicide, and 1% have attempted it. 81% said they had no thoughts of suicide, and 5% preferred not to answer.

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