published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Physicians
Research Article | Original Research
Indicators of Workplace Burnout Among Physicians, Advanced Practice Clinicians, and Staff in Small to Medium-Sized Primary Care Practices
The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine May 2020, 33 (3) 378-385; DOI: https://doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2020.03.190260
The rising prevalence of burnout among physicians and other healthcare professionals has become a major concern in the United States. Identifying indicators of burnout could help reduce negative consequences such as turnover, loss of productivity, and adverse health behaviors. The goal of this study was to examine whether individual behaviors and attitudes towards major disruptive change has an effect on workplace burnout.
This study analyzed survey responses from 1273 healthcare professionals from 154 small to medium-sized primary care practices participating in the EvidenceNOW initiative in Virginia. Healthcare professionals' behaviors and attitudes, such as anxiety and withdrawal, were assessed to determine associations with workplace burnout. Results were examined by professional role.
Workplace burnout was reported by 31.6% of the physicians, 17.2% of advanced practice clinicians, 18.9% of clinical support staff, and 17.5% of administrative staff. Regardless of burnout status, results show all healthcare professional groups had high levels of anxiety. Providers had significantly higher scores for anxiety than all other healthcare professionals. Providers who experienced higher levels of anxiety and withdrawal were more than three times as likely to report burnout compared to those who experienced low levels in these domains.
Understanding individual behaviors and attitudes towards disruptive change may help practice leaders and policymakers develop strategies to reduce burnout among healthcare professionals. Programs should focus on strengthening the work environment of small to medium-sized practices to improve organizational capacity for change and address high levels of anxiety experienced by physicians, advanced practice clinicians and staff.