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Mayo Clin Proc. 2017 Mar;92(3):415-422. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.11.012. Epub 2017 Feb 8.

Association Between Physician Burnout and Identification With Medicine as a Calling.

Author information

1
Ethics Standards Group, American Medical Association, Chicago, IL.
2
Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability Group, American Medical Association, Chicago, IL.
3
Ethics Standards Group, American Medical Association, Chicago, IL. Electronic address: audiey.kao@ama-assn.org.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association between degree of professional burnout and physicians' sense of calling.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS:

US physicians across all specialties were surveyed between October 24, 2014, and May 29, 2015. Professional burnout was assessed using a validated single-item measure. Sense of calling, defined as committing one's life to personally meaningful work that serves a prosocial purpose, was assessed using 6 validated true-false items. Associations between burnout and identification with calling items were assessed using multivariable logistic regressions.

RESULTS:

A total of 2263 physicians completed surveys (63.1% response rate). Among respondents, 28.5% (n=639) reported experiencing some degree of burnout. Compared with physicians who reported no burnout symptoms, those who were completely burned out had lower odds of finding their work rewarding (odds ratio [OR], 0.05; 95% CI, 0.02-0.10; P<.001), seeing their work as one of the most important things in their lives (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.21-0.69; P<.001), or thinking their work makes the world a better place (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.17-0.85; P=.02). Burnout was also associated with lower odds of enjoying talking about their work to others (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.13-0.41; P<.001), choosing their work life again (OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.06-0.20; P<.001), or continuing with their current work even if they were no longer paid if they were financially stable (OR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.15-0.59; P<.001).

CONCLUSION:

Physicians who experience more burnout are less likely to identify with medicine as a calling. Erosion of the sense that medicine is a calling may have adverse consequences for physicians as well as those for whom they care.

PMID:
28189341
DOI:
10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.11.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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