Peds 21 Panel Discusses High Stakes of Physician Burnout | AAP News

Editor’s note: The 2017 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Sept. 16-19 in Chicago.

An estimated 700 people attended the Pediatrics for the 21st Century program Friday to learn how to promote health and wellness for themselves,
their colleagues, and their practices and institutions.

The serious — and sometimes deadly — ramifications of physician burnout require doctors
to address personal and professional obstacles to their own wellness. And leaders
must step up to find solutions for the benefit of their institutions, practices and
employees.

Those were key points highlighted by panel members at Friday’s preconference Pediatrics
for the 21st Century (Peds 21) program. Titled “Pediatricians Leading Change in Physician
Health and Wellness,” the daylong program was moderated by Melanie Brown, MD, FAAP,
an integrative medicine physician at University of Minnesota.

One of every two physicians is suffering or has suffered from burnout, said Hilary
McClafferty, MD, FAAP, immediate past chair of the AAP Section on Integrative Medicine
Executive Committee. She noted that burnout has increased across specialties from
2011 to 2014.

“We know the toll of burnout is very significant,” she said. “…We know, too, this
must be addressed on a systems level.”

Symptoms of burnout may include emotional exhaustion, a lack of joy, loss of feeling
of personal accomplishment and concerns about making medical errors. These are exacerbated
by long work hours and failure to maintain one’s physical and mental health. Audience
members also brought up concerns with credentialing requirements, overemphasis on
metrics and efficiency, demands of electronic health records, and workplace discrimination.

“There are tremendous problems with work-life balance,” said New York psychiatrist
Carol Bernstein, MD. She prefers to call it work-life…

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