Clinicians are different

We dedicate our lives to taking care of others over long hours that few other professions work. Life and death decisions are regularly in our hands.

Though we often don’t realize it, we are in positions of power to make a difference in how we do our work. Yet all too often these days it does not feel like it. We feel burned out and helpless against administration.

In a 2014 survey, 54% of physicians reported at least one symptom of burnout and under 40% reported a sense of satisfactory work-life balance. Both were much worse than a previous survey three years earlier. The follow up 2017 survey showed a decrease in burnout back to baseline rates, but no significant improvement in work-life balance, and worsening depression. We still have a long way to go to ensure a fulfilling experience for patients, support staff, and physicians.

The symptoms of burnout include:


  • Exhaustion – physical and/or psychological

  • Cynicism – feeling disconnected from our organization and its purpose

  • Ineffectiveness – feeling like what we do doesn't matter


The reality is that our hospitals and clinics can’t function without physicians. Clinicians can take an active role in redesigning clinical care to resolve burnout symptoms and return to work-life balance.


Photo credit: Scott R. Kline