Physician Burnout Statistics

JumpMD compiles original physician burnout research with public data to serve as a comprehensive statistical resource for journalists, researchers, and the curious public.

by Jurgen Focken
Feb 29th, 2024

Key findings

  • 51% of physicians experienced burnout in 2022.
  • 40% of physicians considered leaving their jobs due to burnout. 1 in 5 physicians intends to leave within the next two years in the U.S.
  • In 2022, 57% of female physicians experienced burnout, while 47% of male physicians reported burnout in the U.S.
  • In nearly all countries, younger physicians (under the age of 55) were more likely to experience stress or burnout.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by the end of 2021, physician burnout reached an all-time high of 63% in the U.S., up from 44% in 2017 and 46% in 2011.
  • Research has shown that administrative burdens, including Electronic Health Records (EHR), are major causes of physician burnout and frustration.
  • Rural family physicians (FPs) had a non-significantly higher burnout rate than urban FPs (45.1% versus 43.0%). Burnout was more common in younger and female FPs.

Table of Contents

What is physician burnout?

Physician burnout is a job-related stress syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and the perception of diminished personal accomplishment.

Physician burnout affects all specialties and all practice settings.

Which specialties have the highest rates of physician burnout?

In 2022, the highest percentage of burnout was observed among six physician specialties.

Type of Physician Specialty Burnout %
Emergency medicine 62%
Hospital medicine 59%
Family medicine 58%
Pediatrics 55%
Obstetrics and Gynecology 54%
Internal medicine 52%

Impact of physician burnout

On Patient Outcomes:

  • Studies from JAMA Internal Medicine found that burnout leads to unprofessionalism among physicians.
  • Physician burnout increases the concern for patient safety and causes 7% to 10.6% of significant medical errors.
  • Depersonalization characteristic of physician burnout causes decreased patient satisfaction and longer post-discharge recovery time.

On the healthcare system and physician workforce:

  • According to PubMed research, burnout costs the U.S. healthcare system at least $4.6 billion annually due to physician turnover and reduced clinical hours.
  • Studies reported that physician burnout was associated with a 28% reduction in professional effort and a 67% decrease in job hours in a year.
  • Physician burnout increases the likelihood of malpractice litigation by up to 17%.

On Physician health and well-being:

  • There is a broader association between burnout and physician impairment, including a 25% rise in the likelihood of alcohol abuse/dependence.
  • The suicide rate among male physicians is 40% higher than other males in the population, and the suicide rate among female physicians is 130% higher than other females in the population.

Reasons for physician burnout

Although many factors cause burnout among physicians, systemic inefficiencies, administrative burdens, and rising regulatory and technological requirements are frequently linked to the epidemic of physician burnout.

Work-related factors

  • Excessive workload
  • Increased administrative load
  • Long working hours
  • Frequent on-call duties
  • Loss of autonomy
  • Lack of support
  • Risk of malpractice litigation
  • Lack of control over the work environment
  • Inappropriate choice of specialty

Personal characteristics and traits

  • Self-criticism
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Perfectionism
  • Overcommitment
  • Work-home conflict
  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Lack of support system outside work

Institutional factors

  • Adverse Leadership behavior
  • Microaggression
  • Racism, bias, and discrimination
  • Lack of appreciation
  • Limited resources
  • Limited opportunity for growth
  • Inadequate social support

Physician burnout symptoms

As perceived from the definition of burnout, symptoms of physician burnout have three aspects:

  1. Exhaustion: extremely low level of physical and emotional energy
  2. Depersonalization: negative feelings, cynicism, or compassion fatigue towards patients
  3. Sense of reduced Efficiency: feelings of incompetence in helping patients

Physicians may show one or more symptoms of burnout over time.

According to research, exhaustion, and compassion fatigue affect men and women physicians equally. However, the sense of reduced efficiency or doubting their quality of work is less common in male physicians than in female physicians.

How to mitigate and prevent physician burnout

Physician burnout can be reduced by combining organizational and individual interventions.

Organization-level interventions:

  • A study by Mayo Clinic Proceedings reported that effective leadership decreases the burnout rate of physicians by 3.3% while increasing their job satisfaction by 9%.
  • Research suggests that work organization-focused therapies, group sessions, and stress management courses lessen burnout in physicians.
  • Studies found an 18% reduction in attention failures among physicians when shifts were limited to fewer than 16 hours.
  • Optimization of electronic medical records and additional support for clerical work can mitigate the administrative burden for physicians.

Individual-level interventions:

  • Having an emotional support system can help reduce physician burnout. For example, support from a spouse can reduce burnout by 40%, and support from coworkers can reduce burnout by 45%.
  • Informed decisions of specialty and practice choices can prevent the symptoms of burnout in physicians.
  • Many studies suggest practices such as mindfulness, fitness regimens, and self-care activities to foster a sense of belonging and purpose among physicians.


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  2. “Medicine’s Great Resignation: 1 in 5 Doctors Plan to Exit Within 2 Years.” American Medical Association.
  3. Kisely, Steve, et al. “Occurrence, Prevention, and Management of the Psychological Effects of Emerging Virus Outbreaks on Healthcare Workers: Rapid Review and Meta-Analysis.” BMJ.
  4. West, Colin P., et al. “Physician Burnout: Contributors, Consequences and Solutions.” Journal of Internal Medicine.
  5. “New Data Sheds Light on Gender Gap in Physician Burnout.” American Medical Association.
  6. Zhang, Shun, et al. “The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Hospital Staff.” Work.
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  13. Maslach, Christina, and Susan E. Jackson. “The Measurement of Experienced Burnout.” Journal of Organizational Behavior.
  14. “Stressed Out, Burned Out: 2022 International Survey of Primary Care Physicians.” The Commonwealth Fund.
  15. Woolhandler, Steffie, and David U. Himmelstein. “Administrative Work Consumes One-Sixth of U.S. Physicians’ Working Hours and Lowers Their Career Satisfaction.” JAMA Health Forum.
  16. West, Colin P., et al. “Interventions to Prevent and Reduce Physician Burnout: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The Lancet.
  17. Panagioti, Maria, et al. “Association Between Physician Burnout and Patient Safety, Professionalism, and Patient Satisfaction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Internal Medicine.
  18. Shanafelt, Tait D., et al. “Enhancing Meaning in Work: A Prescription for Preventing Physician Burnout and Promoting Patient-Centered Care.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings.