Burnout rates are rising among psychiatrists

The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to weigh on the happiness, well-being and lifestyles of many segments of the population, but especially those in the healthcare field, including psychiatrists.

The new release Medscape Cardiologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022 explores the happiness of psychiatrists in their personal and professional lives and how they maintain their mental and physical health.

Before the global pandemic, 79% of psychiatrists said they were “very” or “fairly” happy outside of work, like all doctors (81%).

But as the pandemic has spread, feelings have changed and there are clear signs of stress and strain on those working in healthcare.

Now, the percentage of psychiatrists who currently say they are “very” or “somewhat” happy outside of work has fallen to 62%, which is similar to doctors overall (59%).

Higher in women

In last year’s report, globally 42% of psychiatrists reported burnout; which has risen to 47% this year.

When it comes to burnout, psychiatrists are in the lower bracket of burnt-out physicians. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout rates are highest among emergency medicine and critical care specialists.

About half of psychiatrists (52%) said they were more exhausted now than during the early quarantine months of the pandemic, as did all physicians (55%). About a third said their exhaustion was the same.

Female psychiatrists reported feeling burnt out more often than their male colleagues (46% vs. 30%).

“There is no doubt that women have reported significantly more role constraints during the pandemic than men,” said Carol A. Bernstein, MD, psychiatrist at Montefiore Health System and professor and vice president for body development. faculty and well-being at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. , New York City.

“Often, women took on more of the childcare and homeschooling responsibilities in their homes. As a result, we know that more women have dropped out of the labor market. women are more likely to report feelings of burnout than men,” Bernstein noted.

The volume of bureaucratic tasks is the main contributor to burnout for psychiatrists (69%), even more so than for all physicians (60%).

Excessive working hours, lack of respect from colleagues, lack of control or autonomy, and the increasing use of electronic health records (EHRs) and other technologies are also key drivers burnout in this year’s report.

To assuage burnout, psychiatrists reduce their work hours and participate in meditation or other stress reduction techniques.

Thirty-eight percent of psychiatrists believe that their personality type contributes to their burnout. Nearly seven in 10 psychiatrists say burnout affects their relationships, about the same as all physicians (68%).

work-life balance

More than half of psychiatrists (53%) say they are willing to take a pay cut in order to achieve a better work-life balance or to have more free time. This is similar among doctors in general (55%).

More than a third (39%) of psychiatrists reported clinical depression (severe depression lasting for a while and not caused by grief), while 44% reported familiar depression (feeling depressed, blue, sad).

About half of depressed psychiatrists said their depression had no impact on relationships with patients. Among those who saw an impact, the top behaviors they reported were being easily exasperated by patients and feeling less motivated to take patient notes carefully.

To maintain happiness and sanity, psychiatrists choose to spend time with loved ones, do the things they enjoy, exercise, and get enough sleep.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, more psychiatrists are satisfied with their work-life balance before the pandemic (68% vs. 54%). The same goes for doctors in general.

Before the pandemic, 17% of psychiatrists said they were dissatisfied with their work-life balance. This figure has risen to 29% this year.

The vast majority of psychiatrists are currently in a committed relationship, with 76% being married or living with a partner. Overall, a slightly higher percentage (83%) of physicians report being in a serious relationship.

About eight in 10 psychiatrists (81%) describe their marriage as good or very good, similar to last year.

Just over half of psychiatrists have life partners who do not work in medicine. This proportion is similar to that observed among physicians as a whole (56%).

Among psychiatrists balancing parenthood and a medical career, female psychiatrists reported feeling conflicted more often than their male counterparts (36% versus 22% were “very conflicted” or “conflicted”).

This general attitude is reflected in almost all professions, according to a Pew Research survey, which found that a greater proportion of mothers than fathers struggled to care for children during the pandemic.

Medscape’s Latest Happiness, Well-Being, and Lifestyle Survey Results Are Based on 13,069 Medscape Physicians (61% Male) Practicing in the U.S. Who Completed an Online Survey conducted between June 29 and September 26, 2021. Most respondents were between 35 and 64 years old. years.

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