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Orthopaedic Surgeon Burnout

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Daniels, Alan H. MD; DePasse, J. Mason MD; Kamal, Robin N. MD

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: April 2016 - Volume 24 - Issue 4 - p 213–219
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-15-00148
Review Article

Burnout is a syndrome marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and low job satisfaction. Rates of burnout in orthopaedic surgeons are higher than those in the general population and many other medical subspecialties. Half of all orthopaedic surgeons show symptoms of burnout, with the highest rates reported in residents and orthopaedic department chairpersons. This syndrome is associated with poor outcomes for surgeons, institutions, and patients. Validated instruments exist to objectively diagnose burnout, although family members and colleagues should be aware of early warning signs and risk factors, such as irritability, withdrawal, and failing relationships at work and home. Emerging evidence indicates that mindfulness-based interventions or educational programs combined with meditation may be effective treatment options. Orthopaedic residency programs, departments, and practices should focus on identifying the signs of burnout and implementing prevention and treatment programs that have been shown to mitigate symptoms.

From the Department of Orthopedics, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI (Dr. Daniels and Dr. DePasse), and the Chase Hand and Upper Limb Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (Dr. Kamal).

Dr. Daniels or an immediate family member serves as a paid consultant to Osseus and Stryker and has received nonincome support (such as equipment or services), commercially derived honoraria, or other non–research-related funding (such as paid travel) from DePuy and Stryker. Dr. Depasse or an immediate family member has received nonincome support (such as equipment or services), commercially derived honoraria, or other non–research-related funding (such as paid travel) from Stryker. Neither Dr. Kamal nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

Received March 21, 2015

Accepted August 11, 2015

© 2016 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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