Infectious Disease

Leaders in health care must ‘make change happen’ to combat burnout

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CHICAGO – The issue of physician burnout has been increasingly recognized over the past decade, and it will persist until changes are made at the organizational level, according to speakers at the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting.

During the presentation Connie Newman, MD, MACP, FAMWA, an adjunct professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine and past president of the American Medical Women’s Association, said that about 40% of physicians experience burnout.

“Studies have found that the rate of burnout is higher in women physicians,” she told Healio. “This may be related to the challenges facing women doctors today — including gender bias, the dual role of women as doctor and mother/caregiver, pay inequity and slower career advancement.”

Newman emphasized that burnout is not the problem of an individual physician. It’s an organizational issue. as such, Ankita Sagar, MD, MPH, FACP, an associate professor of medicine in the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Great Neck, NY, said it is important for leaders in health care to be an “agency to make change happen.”

However, Jason Schneider, MD, FACP, an associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, noted that the medical profession is “really at its infancy” in addressing burnout, and “leaders are struggling to know where to start.” He encouraged them to view physician burnout as a “crucial conversation” that needs to be had.

“We know burnout is an issue, but I think there’s still room for calling it out as a starting point for changing the culture of the workplace,” he said.

In this video, Newman, Sagar and Schneider discuss highlights from their presentation on physician burnout and efforts that are needed to begin addressing it.

References:

Sagar A, et al. Burnout: It’s a leadership issue. Presented at: ACP Internal Medicine Meeting; Apr 28-30 2022; Chicago.

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American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting

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