Professional burnout threatens all high-functioning professionals and affects not only the individual, but, by extension, the patients they serve. The characteristics that make someone competitive for medical school, residency, or successful in academics or practice, make us particularly vulnerable to burnout: compulsive dedication to goals (and patients), motivation to succeed, self-reliance, leadership experience, delayed gratification, and others. Estimates of the prevalence of burnout in medicine vary widely but are consistently >40% and often as high as 75%. Obstetricians and gynecologists are not unique in suffering from burnout but do rank among the top medical specialties for the rate of professional burnout reported. When burnout is present, there is reduced job satisfaction, lower productivity, increased medical errors (and morbidity), degraded interpersonal interactions, and higher physician dropout rates. Career dissatisfaction, early retirement, and even regret surrounding the original choice of career are all common when burnout is present. There is a growing body of individual actions that can be taken to reduce or reverse the impact of burnout, but the first steps are to understand the causes and identify the symptoms.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Graduate Medical Education, Faculty and Academic Affairs, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida
The author declares that there is nothing to disclose.
Correspondence: Roger P. Smith, MD, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, BC-71, Room 337, Boca Raton, FL. E-mail: email@example.com