New Medscape Report Reveals Progress Among Physician Burnout, Depression

Despite Positive Shift Unveiled in Annual Physician Burnout and Depression Survey, There's Still A Lot of Work to Do

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NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- In a significant development, the latest annual survey on physician burnout and depression has reported uncommon declines in the rates among U.S. doctors. This could signal an encouraging shift in the overall mental well-being of physicians. 

Forty-nine percent of physicians told Medscape they feel burned out and 20% said they were depressed. In last year's report, the rates were 53% and 23%, respectively.

Other noteworthy findings in the Medscape Physician Burnout & Depression Report: "We Have Much Work to Do" include:

  • 83% of doctors surveyed cited professional stress as the primary contributor to their burnout and/or depression.
  • As in previous years, the number of work-related bureaucratic tasks was cited as the primary reason for burnout (62%). Spending too many hours at work (41%) and lack of respect from administrators, employers, and coworkers (40%) also were contributing factors.
  • Additionally, the Medscape Report found 48% of the physicians surveyed felt their employers do not recognize the pervasiveness of burnout among their medical staff.

To view the full report, click here:

Similar to last year's report, physicians in emergency medicine reported the highest burnout rates (63%). They were followed by ob/gyns, oncologists, pediatricians, and family physicians.

Medscape's report defined burnout as long-term, unresolved, job-related stress leading to exhaustion, cynicism, detachment from job responsibilities, and lacking a sense of personal accomplishment. Physicians also were asked whether they felt either clinically (severe depression lasting for some time and not tied to normal grief) or colloquially (feeling down, blue, or sad) depressed.

Higher Pay, More Support and Coping Methods May Alleviate Burnout

Similar to last year's report, higher pay, increased support staff, and greater flexibility at work emerged as key factors that could significantly contribute to reducing burnout and depression among physicians. The survey also found that physicians are increasingly adopting positive coping mechanisms, such as better exercise, talking with family and friends, and quality sleep.  

"We are pleased to report a positive shift in the well-being of physicians," said Jon McKenna, Medscape Senior Editor of Reports. "These findings underscore the resilience of physicians and emphasize the importance of collaborative efforts to create a supportive work environment." 

Medscape Survey Methods:

The 2024 Medscape Physician Burnout & Depression Report: 'We Have Much Work to Do' was completed by 9,226 U.S. physicians representing more than 29 specialty areas. Respondents were invited to respond to the online survey. The margin of error for the survey was +/- 1.02% at a 95% confidence level.

About Medscape

Medscape is the leading source of clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for health care professionals. Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools.

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WebMD Health Corp., an Internet Brands Company, is the leading provider of health information services, serving patients, physicians, health care professionals, employers, health plans, and health systems through public and private online portals, mobile platforms, and health-focused publications. The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, Jobson Healthcare Information, MediQuality, Frontline, Vitals Consumer Services, Aptus Health, Krames, PulsePoint, The Wellness Network, SanovaWorks, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, RxList, OnHealth, Medscape Education, and other owned WebMD sites. WebMD®, Medscape®, CME Circle®, Medpulse®, eMedicine®, MedicineNet®, ®, and RxList® are among the trademarks of WebMD Health Corp. or its subsidiaries.

Jaberta Bennett
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