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What do early career pediatricians find stressful? :

April 5, 2018

The Academy has learned from the Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study (PLACES) that early and mid-career pediatricians are highly satisfied with their jobs and career choices. At the same time, physicians face many pressures.

The latest data from PLACES highlight how stressful physicians find various job factors.

Among those who graduated from residency six to 15 years ago, 90% are satisfied with their jobs and agree their relationships with patients and families are rewarding.

The top stressors for these pediatricians include completing or catching up on work at home, documenting patient information in the electronic health record (EHR) and completing nonclinical tasks and regulatory requirements such as continuing medical education and maintenance of certification (see figure).

One-third are stressed by keeping current on medical knowledge; responding to the current debate on U.S. health care and how it affects their work; negotiating their salary, contract or promotion; and linking families with resources.

Less than one-quarter find providing clinical care to children and adolescents, working with families, coordinating patient care with other providers and working with their colleagues moderately or very stressful.

“Members of the AAP Section on Early Career Pediatricians, by and large, find great satisfaction in caring for children and are excited about the future of pediatrics,” said Nola Jean Ernest, M.D., FAAP, a member of the section’s executive committee.

“However, the job stressors found in the recent PLACES data resonate with us, especially the abundance of administrative tasks, inefficient EHRs, and trying to finish patient charting and other work at home. Organizational processes that make charting more efficient and reduce administrative work might help decrease pediatrician stress and enhance physician wellness.”

PLACES includes the 2009-’11 Residency Graduates Cohort and the 2002-’04 Residency Graduates Cohort. Each cohort has 900 participants and includes both AAP members and nonmembers and general pediatricians, subspecialists and hospitalists. Seventy-one percent of participants responded to the 2017 fall survey.

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