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    Burnout rate lower than believed, but still too high

    Two of five urologists burned out, raising concerns about impact on work force shortage

    Boston—A new look at the burnout rate among practicing urologists shows that the problem may not be as widespread as previously reported. Nevertheless, nearly 40% of urologists are burned out, a number researchers say is still much too high.

    Burnout is increasingly concerning in medicine, and has been associated with depression, interpersonal conflict, and medical errors. In urology in particular, it may contribute to a looming work force shortage.

    The new study, based on results from the 2016 AUA Census, follows up on two published studies by Mayo Clinic researchers examining burnout rates across multiple specialties. In a 2011 study (Arch Intern Med 2012; 172:1377-85), the Mayo team reported that 41.2% of urologists were burned out, similar to the average across all specialties. That number jumped to 63.6% in a subsequent 2014 study (Mayo Clin Proc 2015; 90:1600-13), giving urologists the distinction of being the most burned out of all the specialists studied.

    Amanda C. North, MDDr. North“Urologists think we have a pretty good job, so when we found out that we were the most burned out of any specialist, we got very concerned,” said Amanda C. North, MD, assistant professor of urology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY. She presented the most recent study data at the AUA annual meeting in Boston.

    In their study, Dr. North and colleagues from the AUA and multiple institutions included the Maslach Burnout Inventory, a standard tool used in burnout research, in the 2016 AUA Census questions. They focused on two components of the Maslach tool—emotional exhaustion and depersonalization—that were the same two components examined by the Mayo Clinic team.

    The overall burnout rate for practicing urologists was 38.8%, Dr. North reported. Some 37% scored high for depersonalization and 17% scored high for emotional exhaustion, percentages that are comparable with other medical and surgical specialties.

    Next: Sampling bias in earlier study

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