Dr W. Clay Jackson: Specialties With the Highest, Lowest Clinician Burnout

Family physicians and internists, as well as emergency medicine and critical care medicine have the highest rates of clinician burnout, said W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, department of family medicine, University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

Family physicians and internists, as well as emergency medicine and critical care medicine have the highest rates of clinician burnout, said W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, department of family medicine, University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

Transcript

What specialties see the highest prevalence of clinician burnout? The lowest?

So, it’s very interesting that family physicians, internists, those who are in primary care specialties actually have the highest rates, as well as emergency medicine and critical care medicine, or ICU medicine. These are very subspecialized specialties and very broad specialties, but the common denominator is complexity. In primary care, folks are asked to know a lot about a lot of different things, and it can be quite stressful. Also, in the sort of ER and ICU specialties, we see that there is an interface between human mortality and human technology.

These 2 factors—a mismatch between technology and mortality, or complexity in the face of lots of illness—seem to drive those high rates of burnout in those disparate specialties.

Low rates of burnout would include psychiatry, geriatrics, OBGYN, dermatology. These are some of the specialties that have lower rates of burnout.