Physicians are prone to burnout which can negatively affect the quality of patient care and lead to medical errors. Burnout can also affect physicians by impacting their personal relationships, their sense of career fulfillment, and job satisfaction. The North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) formed a taskforce to investigate burnout among pediatric gastroenterologists.
A 35-item electronic survey was developed to collect demographic and practice information and characterize the well-being of pediatric gastroenterologists. Burnout was assessed employing 2 single-item measures adapted from the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The survey was distributed to NASPGHAN members 3 times from February 2020 to March 2020. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square, and Fisher exact tests were used.
One thousand seven hundred ninety-one e-mails were successfully sent and 408 participants (22.7%) returned surveys. A total of 28.8% reported high risk for emotional exhaustion, 17.5% reported high risk for depersonalization, and 33% reported overall burnout. Participants 44 years of age or younger reported significantly more burnout than those 45 years and older (P = 0.018). Contributors to high burnout identified included increased patient load/demands, insufficient nursing support, electronic health record (EHR) use, insufficient administrative staff, excessive on-call coverage, and more complex patients. Forty-four percent reported not having enough time for their personal life including family. A total of 16.2% of participants reported that they would not choose to be a pediatric gastroenterologist again.
Pediatric gastroenterologists are at risk for emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and overall burnout. Strategies to prevent physician burnout should be implemented as soon as feasibly possible to improve individual mental health and patient care.