Physicians with sleep disorder 4 times more likely to experience burnout, study finds

Physicians with positive sleep disorder screening results were more likely to report burnout and low levels of professional fulfillment, according to a study published Oct. 30 in JAMA Network Open. 

Researchers developed a sleep health and wellness program offered to hospital groups between May 2018-19. After a series of 40-minute presentations, participants were screened for sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and shift work disorder. Burnout and professional fulfillment were also assessed. The sleep health and wellness program had 1,436 participants. 

Here are three key findings: 

1. Physicians with a sleep disorder were four times as likely to report occupational burnout. 

2. Of the 1,047 participants who completed the sleep disorder screening, about 29 percent had at least one sleep disorder, with insomnia being the most common. About 92 percent of positive sleep disorder findings were previously undiagnosed or untreated.

3. Researchers found 29 percent of the 1,074 who completed screening for burnout had a positive result. Of the 1,031 employees who filled out the professional fulfillment index, 49 percent reported reduced professional fulfillment. 

“Treatment of sleep disorders may provide a novel means of intervening to reduce physician burnout, which has been resistant to other treatment approaches,” researchers said. 

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