Neurologists Worry About Career Burnout

Photo: Stressed physician

A large amount of neurologists working with
hospital patients ("neurohospitalists") have
already experienced burn-out or are concerned
about it; © panthermedia.net/ginasanders

Nearly 29 percent of these "neurohospitalists" said they had experienced burnout, and 45.8 percent said they were concerned about burnout but had not yet experienced it. Burnout was defined as maintaining a schedule so burdensome as to limit the time a physician will or could spend as a neurohospitalist.

Many neurologists have limited or abandoned seeing hospital patients because of reduced reimbursement. At the same time, inpatient neurologic care is becoming increasingly complex. The neurohospitalist movement has emerged as a possible solution to both problems.

In the survey, respondents said advantages of the neurohospitalist model include timely and high-quality care, improved continuity of care during the hospital stay, familiarity with hospital systems and defined work schedules.
Disadvantages included long work hours, poor reimbursement and transitions between the hospital and clinic settings.

Researchers conducted a random sample of 1,293 neurologists, with a response rate of 41.6 percent. Among those who responded, 16.4 percent said they were neurohospitalists. A neurohospitalist was defined as a neurologist whose predominant focus is the care of inpatients as either a consultant or primary attending physician.

Researchers surveyed an additional 498 neurologists (response rate, 55.8 percent) who specialize in such areas as critical care, stroke and emergency neurology and are thus more likely to be neurohospitalists. Combining results from both surveys, researchers found that the most common diagnosis neurohospitalists see is stroke and transient ischemic attack (mini stroke), 83.1 percent, followed by delirium/encephalopathy, 9 percent, and seizure, 2.6 percent.

Researchers concluded that neurohospitalists "are a potential solution to a number of the pressures on traditional neurologist practice." However, challenges need to be resolved, "not the least of which are potentially problematic transitions of care and burnout concerns given a small workforce. As the model matures, further study will be worthwhile, of both neurohospitalists and their impact on the inpatient care of patients with neurologic disorders."

MEDICA.de; Source: Loyola University Health System