Study finds high rates of burnout across healthcare professions

April 12, 2023
Through a national survey, Brigham researchers identified prevalent work overload, burnout, and intent to leave healthcare professions among nurses, clinical staff, and non-clinical staff.

A new study of 206 healthcare organizations led by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, identified high levels of burnout, intent to leave the profession, and work overload across all members of the healthcare workforce. Their results are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The team analyzed burnout, intent to leave the profession, and feelings of work overload reported in the American Medical Association’s Coping with COVID Survey from April to December 2020. Through the survey, 43,026 responses were collected from 206 healthcare organizations.

Respondents included over 15,000 physicians and 11,000 nurses. They also included over 5,000 other clinical staff such as pharmacists, nursing assistants, therapists, medical assistants, or social workers and over 11,000 non-clinical staff including housekeeping, administrative staff, lab technicians, or food service staff.

Approximately 50 percent of all respondents reported burnout, with the highest levels among nurses (56 percent) and other clinical staff (54.1 percent) reporting burnout. Intent to leave the job was reported by 28.7 percent of healthcare workers, with 41 percent of nurses, 32.6 percent of non-clinical staff and 31.1 percent of clinical staff reporting the sentiment. The intent to leave was higher for both physicians and nurses in an in-patient setting compared to out-patient settings.

The prevalence of perceived work overload ranged from 37.1 percent among physicians to 47.4 percent in other clinical staff. And this work overload was significantly associated with both burnout and intent to leave the job.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital release