Physician Wellness Statistics

How frequently do physicians experience burnout?


46.8: percentage of physicians accelerating their retirement plans

Source: The Physicians Foundation 2016 Survey of 17,236 U.S. doctors

Highest levels of burnout by specialty

  • Emergency Medicine – 59%
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology – 56%
  • Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease – 55%
  • Rheumatology – 54%
  • Critical Care, Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology – 53%
  • Cardiology – 52%

Source: Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017

Female physicians experience twice the level of burnout as their male colleagues.

Sources: The Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Medical Economics Blog

Physician Voices

"There should be classes on dealing with these issues in premed. They teach us how to treat patients with [depressive] symptoms and suicidal thoughts but they don't teach us how to respond if we're having them ourselves."
— Orthopedic surgeon Antonio Webb, M.D., NBC News

"The root cause of physician burnout is putting highly motivated and caring professionals in a work environment in which they are unable to succeed."
— Paul DeChant, M.D., essay

"I was stressed 100 percent of the time. All I could think about was how much I wasn't getting done. All the things I was failing to do rather than focusing on the things I was achieving."
— Urologist Amanda North, M.D., CBS News

 "It's not that physicians are burned out and so don't care, it's that they care deeply. You can't experience compassion fatigue if you've not had compassion."
— Developmental behavioral pediatrician David Schonfeld, M.D., the New York Times