Job burnout is stressful. It causes a unique type of stress that includes mental and physical exhaustion. There are so many factors that can contribute to burnout on the job, including work-life imbalance, monotony, lack of resources, and a dysfunctional workplace, to name a few. A MedPage Today survey indicates that approximately 38% of doctors experience job burnout.

The consequences if left unaddressed could significantly affect your health. Signs of job burnout include being exhausted all the time, feeling disengaged and with dulled emotions, feeling helpless or hopeless, loss of motivation, depression, and feeling undervalued and overworked. If you are feeling the effects of job burnout, it’s important to recognize it for what it is and take positive action to improve your outlook.

A career in medicine can be like a calling, but that too needs to be nurtured. Some tips for rekindling your ambition include attending a workshop offering a fresh topic that piques your interest. Consider going on a medical mission trip with your peers, and remember how good it feels to help people. Take your skill set and work abroad; medical profession opportunities abound all over the globe. Or teach a class and share what you’ve learned to inspire a new generation. Evaluate your options and seek out support. Discuss your concerns with a professional and with your peers.

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Want to take more of a break? Consider working on a part-time basis and supplementing your income with another less clinical option, such as teaching, writing, or consulting. Work in additional time for your personal interests as well.

Perhaps you’re already feeling like you’re done and want out. Consider speaking with a career counselor, who can help you create a transition plan. There are many other opportunities for health care professionals in government, the pharmaceutical industry, sports and entertainment, and many other areas. You will need to take a good look at your options. The services of a professional career coach could make it less stressful.

It is important to address your situation immediately so that you don’t compromise your health. Keep it in perspective, take time to assess your situation, and seek help when you need it.


  1. Choosing or changing a career path. American Academy of Family Physicians website.
  2. Job burnout: how to spot it and take action. Mayo Clinic website. December 8, 2012.
  3. Susman E. Pain med docs more prone to burnout. MedPage Today website. May 4, 2014.