The January edition of Medscape Family Medicine featured an article by Carol Peckham about the increased concerns over physician burnout. A 2012 national survey that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that “US physicians suffer more burnout than other American workers” with 46% of all physicians responding that they had burnout. Burnout is defined as “loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment.”
An editorial published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported burnout rates ranging from 30% to 65% across specialties. The highest rates were incurred by physicians at the front line of care, such as emergency medicine and primary care, while half of all family physicians, internists, and general surgeons reported burnout. In the Medscape survey, “fully half of physicians on the front line of care told us they were burned out.” Approximately 10% of those burned-out physicians ranked the severity of their burnout at 6 or 7 on 1-7 scale with 7 being “so severe that I’m thinking of leaving medicine”. Obviously, these statistics show that burnout has a negative effect on patient care.
Physicians who responded to the 2015 Medscape surveys were given a list of possible burnout causes and asked to rank them in importance. The top 4 causes were listed as:
- Too many bureaucratic tasks: Bureaucratic pressures and loss of autonomy are well-researched causes of stress in physicians
- Too many hours at work
- Insufficient income
- Increasing computerization: 70% said that the EHR’s “decreased their face-to-face time with patients, and 57% noted that it detracted from their ability to see patients”
Being able to control one’s own schedule and work hours is “increasingly being demonstrated to play an important role in reducing stress and improving career satisfaction—and, therefore, reducing burnout.”
Providing some hope, “the 2014 survey from the Physicians Foundation reported a positive mood among 44% of physicians, which, while clearly not a majority, was higher than the 31.8% reported in the 2012 survey.” Another upside was that “44% described their feelings about the current state of medicine as positive, an increase from 32% in 2012.”
For the full article, click here.
Dr. Dan Bensimhon, CEO and Founder of Moonlighting Solutions, announced today that Shane Meehan has joined the team as the new Director of Physician Recruitment.
Shane Meehan joined Moonlighting Solutions in February 2015, bringing more than 20 years of healthcare recruiting experience. Throughout his career as a recruiter, Shane has worked with both physicians and advanced practice providers across various specialties. Shane’s experience has taught him how to best utilize his client’s and candidate’s time by handling searches in an efficient, effective manner. Shane received a B.S. in Business from Bryant College, and an M.B.A from the University of Connecticut. He spends time in both Connecticut, where he has family, and Bar Harbor, Maine.
A January 2015 article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology featured an article by John Saxon, MD from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine titled “Moonlighting: Pros and Cons for Fellows.” The article also featured a Response titled “Good Learning Experiences Emerge from Unfortunate Necessity” by Blasé Carabello, MD from the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Department of Cardiology, Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.
Dr. Saxon’s article points out that an “obvious benefit of moonlighting is the supplement to the fellow’s income” accurately addressing the crushing debt that cardiology fellows must shoulder. He adds that higher fellowship salaries would ease this burden, but “these measures would likely require national legislative action.” Among the cons of moonlighting, Dr. Saxon lists sleep deprivation and fellows providing care without supervision. In Dr. Carabello’s response, he asserts that “It is better to know how to deal with (sleep deprivation) and to recognize one’s limitations rather than to not be exposed to it.” Regarding supervision, Dr. Saxon suggests that fellows be supervised by an attending physician and that all moonlighting fellows should be “board certified or board eligible in his or her stated subspecialty.”
Moonlighting Solutions strongly supports this recommendation. It is our policy to only work with BC/BE U.S. trained physicians. Additionally, we concur with Dr. Saxon’s statement that “unsupervised cardiology practice during fellowship should be discouraged.” Regarding sleep deprivation, Dr. Saxon concedes that “some degree of sleep loss is an accepted aspect of rigorous training” though it can result in a fellow being “less enthusiastic about learning or working in teams.” Additionally, moonlighters often provide night and weekend coverage for aging physicians that confront the same diagnostic challenges as their younger counterparts during periods of sleep deprivation.
Dr. Carabello’s response focuses on his own personal experiences as a moonlighter recognizing that moonlighting continues to be a “financial necessity for many young physicians.” He describes his moonlighting as a positive experience where he learned “the power and capabilities of physician extenders”, to “think on [his] feet” and to avoid expensive diagnostic workups while relying on “clinical judgment in lieu of unnecessary testing.” These were lessons he would not have learned in the academic setting alone. Dr. Carabello concludes by agreeing that it would be preferable to “devise an educational system for physicians that avoids the bone-crushing debt” they incur that necessitates the need for additional income from moonlighting. “However, the exposure to the extracurricular types of medicine that some types of moonlighting options afford can be a valuable experience, enriching a physician’s background and augmenting his/her understanding of the profession.”
For the full article (in PDF format), click here.