Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 302–306 | Cite as

Scope of Burnout Among Young Gastroenterologists and Practical Solutions from Gastroenterology and Other Disciplines

  • Edward L. BarnesEmail author
  • Gyanprakash A. Ketwaroo
  • Helen M. Shields
Fellows and Young GIs Section


Burnout is a critical issue among physicians, including gastroenterologists. Up to 50% of gastroenterologists have reported symptoms of burnout in national assessments, leading to increased recognition of the burden of burnout among subspecialty societies. Particularly alarming in these assessments of burnout is the suggestion of increased rates of burnout among trainees and early career gastroenterologists. In this article, we describe the scope of burnout among young gastroenterologists and the risk factors that contribute. In addition, we will offer practical solutions to reduce burnout based on insights developed from multidisciplinary approaches, including relevant burnout literature, organizational approaches within academic medical centers, and training programs, as well as interviews with successful private practice gastroenterologists, and leaders in the fields of business and education.


Burnout Trainees Young gastroenterologists Mentoring 



We are thankful to Jerry S. Trier, MD, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, for his development of the innovative mentorship program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We are grateful to the following gastroenterologists who shared in telephone interviews (HS) their methods and solutions for avoiding burnout. These are summarized in Table 2. Paul S. Sepe, MD, Hawthorn Medical Associates, Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Samuel C. Somers, MD, MSc, GI Associates of New Hampshire-Concord Gastroenterology, Concord, New Hampshire. Win J. Travassos, MD, Digestive Health Specialists, PC, Chelmsford, Massachusetts. We are grateful to the following gastroenterologists who shared their experiences in the prevention of burnout as trainees and early career gastroenterologists. Marc S. Piper, MD, MSc, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Southfield, Michigan. Lee B. Sigmon, MD, Carolinas HealthCare System Digestive Health, Charlotte, North Carolina. R. Brooks Vance, Jr., MD, GI Associates, Flowood, Mississippi. Leaders in Academic Business Administration: we are grateful to the following academic business leaders at the Harvard Business School who shared in telephone interviews (HS) their methods and solutions for avoiding burnout. These are summarized in Table 3. Joseph Badaracco, MBA, DBA, is the John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School. Thomas J. DeLong, PhD, is Senior Fellow and former Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. We are grateful to the following leaders in the field of Education who shared in telephone interviews (HS) their methods and solutions for avoiding burnout. These are summarized in Table 3. Leaders in the Field of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: Howard Gardner, PhD, The John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. James P. Honan, EdD Senior Lecturer on Education and Educational Co-Chair, Institute of Educational Management, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors report no relevant financial disclosures or conflicts of interest.


  1. 1.
    Maslach C, Jackson S. Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual. 2nd ed. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychological Press; 1986.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Keswani RN, Keefer L, Surawicz CM. Burnout in gastroenterologists and how to prevent it. Gastroenterology. 2014;147:11–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lacy BE, Chan JL. Physician burnout: the hidden health care crisis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017;16:311–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017: Race and Ethnicity, Bias, and Burnout. Medscape. Published 2017. Accessed September 7, 2017.
  5. 5.
    Keswani RN, Taft TH, Coté GA, et al. Increased levels of stress and burnout are related to decreased physician experience and to interventional gastroenterology career choice: findings from a US survey of endoscopists. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011;106:1734–1740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    DeCross AJ. The Current State of Professional Burnout In Gastroenterology. AGA Perspect 2017.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burke C, Surawicz CM, Oxentenko AS, et al. A national survey of burnout in gastroenterologists. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017;112:S593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ramirez AJ, Graham J, Richards MA, et al. Mental health of hospital consultants: the effects of stress and satisfaction at work. Lancet. 1996;347:724–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shanafelt TD, West CP, Sloan JA, et al. Career fit and burnout among academic faculty. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:990–995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dyrbye L, Varkey P, Boone S, Satele D, Sloan J, Shanafelt T. Physician satisfaction and burnout at different career stages.pdf. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013;88:1358–1367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Herring M, Forbes Kaufman R, Bogue R. Mentoring to help prevent physician burnout. Health Prog. 2016;97:74–77.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Harrison R, Hunter AJ, Sharpe B, et al. Survey of US academic hospitalist leaders about mentorship and academic activities in hospitalist groups. J Hosp Med. 2011;6:5–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Shanafelt TD, Hasan O, Dyrbye LN, et al. Changes in burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance in physicians and the general US working population between 2011 and 2014. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90:1600–1613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shanafelt TD, Balch CM, Bechamps GJ, et al. Burnout and career satisfaction among American surgeons. Trans Meet Am Surg Assoc. 2009;127:107–115.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shanafelt TD, Noseworthy JH. Executive leadership and physician well-being: nine organizational strategies to promote engagement and reduce burnout. Mayo Clin Proc. 2017;92:129–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Panagioti M, Panagopoulou E, Bower P, et al. Controlled interventions to reduce burnout in physicians a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177:195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Anderson JC, Pfeil S, Surawicz C. How I approach it: strategies to combat physician burnout in gastroenterology. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017;112:1356–1359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pozdnyakova A, Laiteerapong N, Volerman A, et al. Impact of medical scribes on physician and patient satisfaction in primary care. J Gen Intern Med. 2018;33:1109–1115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    McCormick BJ, Deal A, Borawski KM, et al. Implementation of medical scribes in an academic urology practice: an analysis of productivity, revenue, and satisfaction. World J Urol. 2018;36:1691–1697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Shah T, Patel-Teague S, Kroupa L, et al. Impact of a national QI programme on reducing electronic health record notifications to clinicians. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018; bmjqs-2017-007447.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Guo U, Chen L, Mehta PH. Electronic health record innovations: helping physicians—one less click at a time. Heal Inf Manag J. 2017;46:140–144.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wright AA, Katz IT. Beyond burnout—redesigning care to restore meaning and sanity for physicians. N Engl J Med. 2018;378:309–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Solomon J. A balancing act. How physicians and teachers manage time pressures and responsibility. In: Gardner H, ed. Responsibility at Work. How Leading Professionals Act (or Don’t Act) Responsibly. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2007:107–132.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Horn L, Gardner H. Constraining responsibility. Choices and compromises. In: Gardner H, ed. Responsibility at Work. How Leading Professionals Act (or Don’t Act) Responsibly. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2007:247–261.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Physician Burnout: The Root of the Problem and the Path to Solutions. New Engl J Med Catal 2017. Accessed October 1, 2018.
  26. 26.
    Pang AS-K. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. New York, NY: Basic Books; 2016.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward L. Barnes
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gyanprakash A. Ketwaroo
    • 3
    • 6
  • Helen M. Shields
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Multidisciplinary Center for Inflammatory Bowel DiseasesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Division of GastroenterologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and EndoscopyBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  5. 5.Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of MedicineMichael E. DeBakey VA Medical CenterHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations