Anita Everett, MD, recent past-president of the American Psychiatric Association, discusses physician burnout and compassion fatigue.
Hello, I am Dr Anita Everett, the president of the American Psychiatric Association. I am a practicing psychiatrist, and I also work as an administrator and as a community psychiatrist.
In my year term as the American Psychiatric Association president, one of the things that I have prioritized is an initiative on physician burnout. We are particularly concerned about burnout. There is a growing awareness among all the medical professions, but our particular interest is of course the burnout experienced by our members, who are psychiatrists.
We know that broadly, nationally, about 50% of the physician workforce experiences some degree of burnout. We have done our own survey of our own members. We currently have just under 38,000 members and we have had to date about 1500 of our members take the survey, so it’s a very small sample. In the scoring that we had so far — we’ve used a survey that’s called the Oldenburg Survey — we have established that something like 74% of our members actually experience, or register as, burned out on the scale that we developed. So we’re concerned about that. Emerging information from our small study of our members demonstrates that women are much more likely than men physicians to have issues with burnout, and also that people who are more recently graduated, who are closer to their date of graduation from medical school, are more likely to experience burnout. Then later physicians. These data are all important to us as an organization because they give us places that we can target interventions.