Introduction: Physician burnout has been linked to medical errors, decreased patient satisfaction, and decreased career longevity. In light of the increasing prevalence of cardiovascular disease, vascular surgeon burnout presents a legitimate public health concern owing to the impact on the adequacy of the vascular surgery workforce. The aims of this study were to define the prevalence of burnout among practicing vascular surgeons and identify factors that contribute to burnout to facilitate future Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) initiatives to mitigate this crisis.
Methods: In 2018, active SVS members were surveyed electronically and confidentially using the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The survey was tailored to explore specialty-specific issues, and to capture demographic and practice-related characteristics. Emotional exhaustion (EE) and depersonalization (DP) were analyzed as dimensions of burnout. Consistent with convention, surgeons with a high score on the DP and/or EE subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory were considered to have at least one manifestation of professional burnout. Risk factors associated with symptoms of burnout were identified using bivariate analyses (χ2, Kruskal-Wallis). Multivariate logistic regression models were developed to identify independent risk factors for burnout.
Results: Of 2905 active SVS members, 960 responded to the survey (34% participation rate). After excluding retired surgeons and incomplete submissions, responses from 872 practicing vascular surgeons were analyzed. The mean age was 49.7 ± 11.0 years; the majority of respondents (81%) were male. Primary practice settings were academic (40%), community practice (41%), veteran's hospital (3.3%), active military practice (1.5%), or other. Years in practice averaged 15.7 ± 11.7. Overall, 41% of respondents had at least one symptoms of burnout (ie, high EE and/or high DP), 37% endorsed symptoms of depression in the past month, and 8% indicated they had considered suicide in the last 12 months. In unadjusted analysis, factors significantly associated with burnout (P < .05) included clinical work hours, on-call frequency, electronic medical record and documentation requirements, work-home conflict, and work-related physical pain. On multivariate analysis, age, work-related physical pain and work-home conflict were independent predictors for burnout.
Conclusions: Symptoms of burnout and depression are common among vascular surgeons. Advancing age, work-related physical pain, and work-home conflict are independent predictors for burnout among vascular surgeons. Efforts to promote vascular surgeon well-being must address specialty-specific challenges, including the high prevalence of work-home conflict and occupational factors that contribute to work-related pain.
Keywords: Burnout; Depression; Ergonomics; Vascular surgery; Wellness.
Copyright © 2020 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.