Hospitalists in general are happy, but many report risk of burnout
by Sanjay Galhotra, MD, MPH, Paul Martin, MD, MPH, Martina Stehlikova, MD, Claire Brown, MD, Valentyna Goloborodko, MD, MPH, Andrea Porovecchio, MD, William Southern, MD, MPH, SFHM, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Clinical question: What are the current job satisfaction levels of hospitalists?
Background: The number of hospitalists is growing rapidly, and there are now estimated to be 30,000 hospitalists in the U.S. Despite this rapid growth, little is known about whether being a hospitalist is a viable long-term career choice or if hospitalists are prone to burnout. This study sought to examine the job satisfaction levels of hospitalists and assess their risk of burnout.
Study design: Survey.
Setting: A representative, stratified sample of practicing hospitalists who were members of SHM or had attended an SHM event were surveyed using the Hospital Medicine Physician Work-Life Survey, an instrument developed by SHM’s Career Satisfaction Task Force. The survey measured 22 domains, including general job and specialty satisfaction, specific satisfaction domains (e.g. compensation, workload, personal time), stress, burnout, and intent to leave.
Synopsis: A total of 816 hospitalists responded to the survey for a response rate of 26%. Nearly 63% of respondents reported high overall job satisfaction and 69% reported high satisfaction with hospital medicine as a specialty. The majority of respondents reported high satisfaction with care quality (82.3%), relationships with staff (79.5%), colleagues (76.2%), and their leaders (75.4%). A minority of respondents reported satisfaction with organizational fairness (31.2%), personal time (28.3%), compensation (27.9%), and autonomy (17.4%).
Burnout symptoms were reported by 29.9% of hospitalists. Among the respondents who reported burnout symptoms, many reported that they were “very likely” (24.6%) or “somewhat likely” (20.8%) to leave their current practice within two years.
The response rate was low and might not accurately reflect the opinion of non-SHM members.
Bottom line: Most hospitalists reported high satisfaction with their job and with the specialty of hospital medicine, but a significant minority reported burnout symptoms and a likelihood of leaving their current practice.
Citation: Hinami K, Whelan CT, Wolosin RJ, Miller JA, Wetterneck TB. Worklife and satisfaction of hospitalists: toward flourishing careers. J Gen Intern Med. 27:28-36.
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