New research using data from the AAP Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study (PLACES) shows that strong majorities of early career pediatricians report they are satisfied with their career (83%) and life in general (71%) (Starmer AJ, et al. Pediatrics. 2016;137:e20153183, http://bit.ly/1UaHpdl). Far fewer (43%) report they experience appropriate work-life balance, and 30% report burnout.
The authors looked at potentially modifiable factors that might be related to satisfaction, work-life balance and burnout such as personal support from physician colleagues and adequate resources for patient care as well as non-modifiable factors such as gender and race/ethnicity.
Almost three-fourths (71%) of 840 early career pediatricians surveyed agreed that they have physician colleagues who are important sources of personal support. They were more likely than pediatricians without such support to report higher career and life satisfaction, balanced personal and professional commitments, and lower burnout (see figure).
More than two-thirds (68%) agreed that their resources for patient care are adequate. These pediatricians were more likely than those without such resources to report higher career satisfaction (89% vs. 73%), life satisfaction (79% vs. 50%), balanced commitments (51% vs. 27%) and less burnout (23% vs. 47%).
In statistical analyses that accounted for other personal and work factors, race/ethnicity and having children were not important factors of satisfaction, work-life balance or burnout. Men and women reported similar levels of burnout and life satisfaction. Women, however, were less likely than men to report balance in their personal and professional commitments and satisfaction with their career as a physician.
“It is encouraging to see the high satisfaction among early career pediatricians, especially as they are juggling many responsibilities and experiencing multiple transitions personally, such as raising children at the same time that they are building their careers professionally,” said Amy J. Starmer, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, lead author and member of the PLACES project advisory committee. “Work settings that promote personal support among physician colleagues and provide adequate resources for patient care may have the potential to enhance work-life balance and career satisfaction.”
Satisfaction, balanced commitments, and current burnout among early pediatricians with and without personal support from physician colleagues
Source: AAP PLACES, Annual Survey 2 (2013). Data are weighted to adjust for differences between PLACES pediatricians and the target sample of pediatricians. Pediatricians are 0 to 22 years post-residency.