The pandemic’s continued impact has increased physician burnout and depression


PLX Academy · News · 25 March 2022


physician burnout and depression

The Medscape Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2022: Stress, Anxiety and Anger shows that burnout among physicians has increased: from 42% in 2020 to 47% in 2021. This year shows a major increase in emergency physicians which went from 42% to 60%.  Most physicians said that burnout permeates most aspects of their lives, with 54% indicating that the impact was strong to severe, including their relationships. 

Burnout increased for both male and female physicians, from 36% to 41% and 51% to 56%, respectively. Physicians said they cope by exercising (48%), isolating themselves from others (45%), eating junk food (35%) and drinking (24%).

“Although the pandemic has been incredibly challenging for physicians, the second year – when society reopened – proved more difficult to navigate,” said Leslie Kane, M.A., Senior Director, Medscape Business of Medicine. “The level of burnout which was already high, worsened and took an enormous toll on emergency medicine physicians.  It remains a major concern that doctors with depression feel they must go at it alone for fear of professional consequences. The post-pandemic provides an opportunity for the profession to rethink the systems and mindsets that keep physicians stuck in the dissatisfaction and despair of burnout and to make meaningful and lasting change.”

Reducing burnout can have a positive impact on medical practice including higher retention rates, improved devotion to patients, increased patient experience, better morale in the office and improved recruitment. Hospitals should prioritize and select programs that address physician burnout where it exists. For medicine to fulfill its mission for patients and for healthcare, all stakeholders in healthcare delivery must work together to develop and implement effective remedies for physician burnout.