Objective/hypothesis: To characterize burnout in academic faculty of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. To identify associated modifiable factors to reduce burnout and improve the health of the field.
Study design: Mailed survey.
Methods: A cross section of US academic otolaryngologists was sampled through a mailed survey. Content included the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Study (MBI-HSS) and questions assessing potential burnout predictors such as demographic information, professional stressors, satisfaction, self-efficacy, and support systems.
Results: Burnout was common among academic otolaryngologists. High burnout was observed in 4% of faculty, moderate burnout in 66%, and low burnout in 30%. Women experienced a statistically higher level of emotional exhaustion than men. In addition, associate professors were significantly more burned out than full professors and microvascular surgeons were notably more burned out than all other subspecialists. The strongest predictors of burnout were dissatisfaction with the balance between personal and professional life, low self-efficacy, inadequate research time, and inadequate administration time. A significant association was seen between high burnout and likelihood to leave academic medicine within the next 1 to 2 years.
Conclusions: Burnout was prevalent among US academic otolaryngologists, although levels were lower than those of otolaryngology chairs and residents. Modification of risk factors, such as allowing sufficient faculty time for research and administrative activities, should be undertaken to curb the development of burnout and its deleterious sequelae.