U.S. Attending Anesthesiologist Burnout in the Postpandemic Era

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Background: Anesthesiologists are experiencing unprecedented levels of workplace stress and staffing shortages. This analysis aims to assess how U.S. attending anesthesiologist burnout changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and target well-being efforts. Methods: The authors surveyed the American Society of Anesthesiologists' U.S. attending anesthesiologist members in November 2022. Burnout was assessed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey with additional questions relating to workplace and demographic factors. Burnout was categorized as high risk for burnout (exhibiting emotional exhaustion and/or depersonalization) or burnout syndrome (demonstrating all three burnout dimensions concurrently). The association of burnout with U.S. attending anesthesiologist retention plans was analyzed, and associated factors were identified. Results: Of 24,680 individuals contacted, 2,698 (10.9%) completed the survey, with 67.7% (1,827 of 2,698) at high risk for burnout and 18.9% (510 of 2,698) with burnout syndrome. Most (78.4%, n = 2,115) respondents have experienced recent staffing shortages, and many (36.0%, n = 970) were likely to leave their job within the next 2 yr. Those likely to leave their job in the next 2 yr had higher prevalence of high risk for burnout (78.5% [760 of 970] vs. 55.7% [651 of 1,169], P < 0.001) and burnout syndrome (24.3% [236 of 970] vs. 13.3% [156 of 1,169], P < 0.001) compared to those unlikely to leave. On multivariable analysis, perceived lack of support at work (odds ratio, 9.2; 95% CI, 7.0 to 12.1), and staffing shortages (odds ratio, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.57 to 2.43) were most strongly associated with high risk for burnout. Perceived lack of support at work (odds ratio, 6.3; 95% CI, 3.81 to 10.4) was the factor most strongly associated with burnout syndrome. Conclusions: Burnout is more prevalent in anesthesiology since early 2020, with workplace factors of perceived support and staffing being the predominant associated variables. Interventions focused on the drivers of burnout are needed to improve well-being among U.S. attending anesthesiologists.




Afonso, A. M., Cadwell, J. B., Staffa, S. J., Sinskey, J. L., & Vinson, A. E. (2024). U.S. Attending Anesthesiologist Burnout in the Postpandemic Era. Anesthesiology, 140(1), 38–51. https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000004784

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