Physician burnout has long been a topic of interest for us and our members, but physicians are no longer just griping about it around the water coolers—they're organizing. Recently, we've noticed an interesting rise in networking sites for burned out physicians looking for a way out of the medical profession.
Earlier this summer, STAT News profiled the "Drop Out Club," a site providing burned out physicians a venue to seek career advice, peruse non-medical job boards, and converse via discussion forums and individual messaging. This site has amassed more than 39,000 members (and counting). A cursory look at the message boards highlights just a few things these dejected physicians are looking for:
- Empathy: "Burned out cardiac surgeon seeks opportunities or empathy"
- A place to vent: "I don't want to be a doctor anymore!"
- Career advice: "Alternative clinical career options for ophthalmologist?"
And the Dropout Club isn't alone – other groups are popping up across the social media sphere. The founder of the "Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters" Facebook group noted that "frustration with medicine" due to excess paperwork and other mandates is certainly "fueling our growth."
Four of the key drivers leading physicians to this level of burnout are:
- Increased regulatory burden: 21% of a physician's total work hours are spent on non-clinical paperwork each week, according to a 2016 survey by The Physicians Foundation
- Overextended and undervalued: Only 14% of physicians believe they have enough time to provide a high standard of care
- Lack of autonomy: 69% believe their clinical autonomy is sometimes or often limited
- Emotionally exhausted: 54% of physician rate their morale as somewhat or very negative
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