Q: Are certain areas of medicine at greater risk for stress and burnout?
A: Yes, certain fields are more prone to being stressed. Those include the emergency department and surgery, because the hours, intensity and acuity of patients are so much higher now.
I’ve also worked with physicians in obstetrics/gynecology. Three female physicians (one young, two seasoned) gave up obstetrics. They loved the specialty, but they felt like the price was too high. They’re trying to do what is right for them and their family. Remember that the field you choose at 25 may not meet your needs at 45.
A lot of physicians say the problem is staffing and call. Organizations are starting to pay attention to this. They need to look at their call schedules and what they’re expecting of their physicians. Millennials are going to insist on it, and organizations that don’t respond will see high turnover.
Response from Deb Wood, PhD, senior consultant and certified employee assistance professional with Minneapolis-based VITAL Worklife, a national behavioral health consulting organization.