Several studies have recorded an increase in burnout among physicians related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, in a recent study involving focus groups of oncologists published on JCO Oncology Practice, Fay J. Hlubocky, PhD, MA, of University of Chicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues found that oncologists “reported that the undesirable, harmful personal effects of COVID-19 exacerbated underlying prepandemic oncologist burnout and increased new stress.”
In an accompanying editorial, Ronald M. Epstein, MD, and Michael R. Privitera, MD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, wrote, “The nature of work has changed. Many colleagues approaching retirement age are now exhausted and are moving more quickly toward reduced hours than they had anticipated prior to the pandemic. Who can blame them?”
Drs Epstein and Privitera suggested measures to ease the underlying causes of burnout. “Flexibility in work hours and assignments and coaching and communication skills programs can enhance teamwork, sense of purpose, collective resilience, and alignment of clinicians toward common goals,” Drs Epstein and Privitera wrote.