U.S. physicians say they feel down in the dumps

January 1, 2007

Burned out and discouraged, many physicians consider chucking their careers because of the state of healthcare today, according to a survey of physician morale conducted by the American College of Physician Executives.

Burned out and discouraged, many physicians consider chucking their careers because of the state of healthcare today, according to a survey of physician morale conducted by the American College of Physician Executives.

The ACPE surveyed 1205 physicians across the country between July and August 2006. The study found that nearly 60% of participants have considered leaving the practice of medicine. Respondents said that fatigue (77.4%), emotional burnout (66.7%), marital/family discord (34.2%), and depression (32.2%) are the leading morale busters. About 4% of respondents said they entertained suicidal thoughts, and 2% said they had resorted to substance abuse.

Low reimbursement, loss of autonomy, red tape, patient overload, loss of respect, and the medical malpractice environment represent the leading factors contributing to low morale. The ACPE published the findings in the November/December issue of The Physician Executive Journal of Medical Management.