Medical specialties with less free time?

Medical specialties with less free time?

Medical specialties: For many doctors, working long hours is the norm. According to a 2021 doctor’s compensation report, doctors currently work an average of 51 hours a week, which is much more than the average employee.

How do these long working hours affect doctors?

For one thing, it disrupts work-life balance and can lead to burnout.

According to one study, burnout affects half of practicing physicians and results in more medical errors. As well as lower quality of care, higher costs and worse health outcomes.

COVID-19 has only exacerbated physician burnout and compassion fatigue.

But, some specialties are worse than others. Here’s a look at the six medical specialties that tend to work the longest hours.

Findings from the National Report on Physician Burnout and Suicide Medscape they shed some light on how different specialists spend their time. According to the survey, which received more than 15,000 responses, the following specialists are more likely to spend more than 51 hours a week working:

  1. General surgery, 77%
  2. Urology, 76%
  3. Cardiology, 72%
  4. Pulmonary care, 68%
  5. Nephology, 68%
  6. Intensive care, 65%

Specialties with relatively lighter working hours

On the other hand, only 13% of those who work in emergency medicine tend to work more than 51 hours a week. Other specialties with relatively lighter working hours are dermatology (24% work 51 hours a week or more), allergy and immunology (25%), and public health and preventive medicine (25%).

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To complete the picture, Medscape’s recent 2021 Physician Compensation Report found that physicians who specialize in infectious diseases, public health, and preventive medicine and nephrology tend to spend the most hours on paperwork and administrative tasks. Those specialties reported spending 24.2 hours, 20.7 hours, and 19.8 hours, respectively, pushing the pencil each week.

Few studies have examined the comparative working hours of physicians in all specialties. An earlier study published on the JAMA Network included a cohort of 6,381 physicians from 41 specialties.

Pediatric subspecialties tended to have the longest working hours.

Compared to primary care, the researchers found that surgery, internal medicine, and pediatric subspecialties tended to have the longest working hours. Specifically, those working in vascular surgery, intensive care internal medicine, and neonatal and perinatal medicine had the longest work weeks.

Longer work hours tend to correlate with higher burnout rates. Physician responses indicated that a 31-40 hour workweek tended to result in burnout rates of 36%; working more than 71 hours a week, on the other hand, was associated with a burnout rate of 57%.

Medscape’s 2021 Physician Burnout and Suicide Report further clarified the links between work-life balance and burnout. When asked about the main factors contributing to burnout, 58% of respondents noted “too many bureaucratic tasks” and 37% said they were working too many hours. Similarly, when asked what would help reduce their risk of burnout, 42% responded “a more manageable work schedule.”

The survey found that 42% of female physicians and nearly half of male physicians cited work-life balance as their top concern in the workplace.

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