Employed Physician Burnout: Identifying the Symptoms, Causes, and Potential Solutions

Employed Physician Burnout: Identifying the Symptoms, Causes, and Potential Solutions
Feb 18, 2020

Burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic work-related stress. It is an issue that affects many different careers but is very common among medical professionals. According to a recent survey released by The Physicians Foundation, 80% of physicians across all specialties report being at full capacity or overextended, and 78% reported sometimes, often, or always experiencing feelings of burnout. [1] These statistics are alarming and the reported rates among physicians is significantly higher than professionals in other industries.

Identifying the Symptoms and Causes of Employed physician Burnout

With such a large percentage of physicians reporting feelings of burnout, it’s important to understand the common symptoms to determine if you are impacted.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Do you experience feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion?
  • Do you find yourself feeling negative or cynical towards your job?

Burnout can negatively impact a physician’s performance which in turn, may affect the quality of care employed physicians are able to provide to their patients.

Why is burnout so common among medical professionals and what can be done to prevent it? This is a very complicated subject with many variables and factors, but there are several commonalities when looking at feedback provided by physicians. The main causes can be attributed to loss of autonomy, long hours, unpredictable workloads, and a lack of resources or support. Unfortunately, these problems are inherent in the traditional hospital environment and are not unique to specific hospitals or practices. Although it may seem like these issues are unavoidable in the medical field, there is a viable solution.

Potential Solutions for Employed Physician Burnout

Many medical practitioners accept burnout as a part of the profession and believe there is no way to avoid it. With the rise of collaborative independent medical practice models, such as co-working models, medical professionals have new options that can help them drastically reduce or eliminate main causes of burnout that are related to their profession. Innovative models that foster physician autonomy and allow low cost/stress practice growth are the optimal comprehensive solution to the problem of burnout.

Medical professionals utilizing these innovative models are able set their own hours and have full control of their workloads. They are in position to set their own productivity criteria and will not be forced to hit unrealistic goals that ultimately affect the level of care provided to their patients. One of the main goals of a fostering the revival of independent model is to provide physicians a real chance to keep their autonomy, resources and support for medical professionals in all areas of practice. Comprehensive models, similar to that of Cowork Medical, besides a chance for autonomy, provide the resources in the form of administrative/front desk staffing, and guidance and support with HR matters, office expenses, purchasing negotiations power, and practice management. Utilizing a medical co-working model will eliminate nearly all the negative parts of opening a private practice, while retaining all the benefits.

If you’re tired of feeling burned out in your current position, consider making a change and opening your own practice with the help of an innovative comprehensive medical practice model made for independent physicians. For more information about the Cowork Model, please check out our resources here.


  1. https://physiciansfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/physicians-survey-results-final-2018.pdf

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