Clinician burnout and satisfaction with resources in caring for complex patients

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Jan-Feb 2017;44:91-95. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2016.03.004. Epub 2016 Jul 16.


Objective: To describe primary care clinicians' self-reported satisfaction, burnout and barriers for treating complex patients.

Methods: We conducted a survey of 1554 primary care clinicians in 172 primary care clinics in 18 health care systems across 8 states prior to the implementation of a collaborative model of care for patients with depression and diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.

Results: Of the clinicians who responded to the survey (n=709; 46%), we found that a substantial minority (31%) were experiencing burnout that was associated with lower career satisfaction (P<.0001) and lower satisfaction with resources to treat complex patients (P<.0001). Less than 50% of clinicians rated their ability to treat complex patients as very good to excellent with 21% rating their ability as fair to poor. The majority of clinicians (72%) thought that a collaborative model of care would be very helpful for treating complex patients.

Conclusions: Burnout remains a problem for primary care clinicians and is associated with low job satisfaction and low satisfaction with resources to treat complex patients. A collaborative care model for patients with mental and physical health problems may provide the resources needed to improve the quality of care for these patients.

Keywords: Burnout; Collaborative care; Depression; Job satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / statistics & numerical data*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Practitioners / statistics & numerical data
  • Physician Assistants / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*