Home From The Editor New survey, perennial problem

New survey, perennial problem

November 2017
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Published in the November 2017 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

THIS ISSUE marks the 10th year that we’ve surveyed hospitalists in our annual Compensation & Career Survey. For a young specialty, a decade is a long time, and it’s probably longer than many of you reading this have practiced as a hospitalist.

When most people hear that our survey results are being published, they ask about compensation. The news this year is good, but not great, with hospitalist pay up about 2% from last year. You can find more information about pay in the charts in this month’s cover story.

Our survey asks hospitalists about a lot more than just money, so our coverage this year focuses on another topic that is just as important: physician burnout. In the survey, we asked hospitalists several questions to gauge how burnout is affecting them and the specialty. The results in our cover story on page 20 are fascinating, if not a little somber.

More than three-quarters of respondents describe burnout as “significant” or “very significant” for their colleagues, and more than half say burnout will get worse for hospital medicine over the next five years. While burnout has been a threat to hospital medicine since the specialty was born, it appears to be getting worse. In our coverage, hospitalists recount being overworked and undervalued.

While some simply give up and quit, burnout affects those physicians who stick around. It can leave physicians hardened and cynical, hurting the specialty overall.

I’m happy to report that our coverage presents solutions that some hospitalists have found helpful. But the reality is that piecemeal solutions won’t be enough to combat the level of burnout that we found. There are no easy answers, but sources report this bit of progress: Burnout is no longer considered a sign of personal weakness. That’s a good start.

Edward Doyle
Editor & Publisher
edoyle@todayshospitalist.com