Objective: Burnout and career-choice regret among physicians in early practice may contribute to physician impairment and attrition as well as patient dissatisfaction.
Method: Fifty residency-trained family physicians in early practice completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory and a questionnaire on career-choice, demographics, and practice characteristics.
Results: The sample showed moderate burnout related to emotional exhaustion and depersonalization of patients but low burnout related to lack of personal accomplishment. Although only 52% reported that they would definitely choose a medical career again, 70% reported that they would definitely choose the specialty of family practice again. At the 0.01 level of significance, those who worked more hours were more emotionally exhausted, and those with children and those with more children under the age of 5 reported less depersonalization.
Conclusions: This sample of physicians in early practice reported slightly less burnout and less specialty-choice regret than a comparable sample of family practice residents, suggesting possible attenuation of burnout with the transition from training to practice. Nonetheless, the importance of overwhelming time demands as a precipitant of exhaustion and potential physician impairment is noted.