Pediatricians need more ‘enjoyable duties’ to reduce 33% burnout rate

Studies in the US have shown that burnout is especially high among family physicians and emergency medicine specialists.

November 15, 2017 18:21
1 minute read.
Doctor holding syringe

Close up of female doctor holding syringe with injection (iilustrative). (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)


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About one-third of pediatricians – both in hospitals and community health clinics – suffer from occupational burnout, according to a new survey of the Israel Pediatrics Association.

In general, physicians experience twice the burnout rate of non-physicians.

The level of such long-term, unresolvable job stress is directly connected to the number of doctors who consider completely leaving the profession of medicine.

Studies in the US have shown that burnout is especially high among family physicians and emergency medicine specialists.

A total of 238 Israeli pediatricians took part in the survey, which was released on Wednesday, as a follow-up to a similar study from 2006. The aim of the new poll was to note trends and causes of burnout. Among the respondents, 19% work in administrative positions, 73% in the community and 6% in hospitals. More than 40% are independent pediatricians working for health funds, 40% are salaried physicians and 19% work both independently and as salaried doctors. A quarter of those who responded had academic status with medical schools.

Burnout is less common among specialists than it is among general practitioners, while those with academic status show more satisfaction in their work. Salaried pediatricians suffer more from burnout than do independent doctors. The younger the pediatrician and the longer the workday, the more tired and fed up they are, according to the poll. Having to do a lot of administrative “red tape” also increases burnout. Teaching medical students and doing research decreases the rate.

Since 2006, the difference in burnout rates – between pediatricians who teach students, do research, attend medical conference and work on health promotion and those who do not – increased significantly. There was more burnout in 2017 among pediatricians who had a lot of red tape to deal with than there was in 2006.

The Israel Pediatrics Association reached the conclusion that their members should be allowed to attend more medical conferences and advanced medical education programs, teach students, carry out research and be involved in disease prevention and health promotion.

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