Features of burnout amongst pathologists: A reassessment.
There has been little rigorous assessment of burnout among pathologists and pathology trainees. Given this relative dearth of relevant literature on pathologist burnout, this report aims to raise awareness of the issue among those working in and around this specialty. Our results are based on a survey given in conjunction with the American Board of Pathology's (ABPath) biennial Continuing Certification (CC) reporting of activities required of diplomates to maintain certification. The survey was voluntary, open to all diplomates participating in CC, and conducted over two consecutive years (2019 and 2020), with alternate years comprising different sets of diplomates. The data are based on 1256 respondents (820 from 2019 to 436 from 2020). The three highest aggregate reported rates of burnout (reported as experienced nearly all of the time, most of the time, or part of the time) occurred when respondents were in their first year of residency training (41.1%) and when they were in (47.6%) and beyond (46.6%) their first three years of practice. We considered this high-low-high, or U-shaped distribution in recollected burnout over time among pathologists a notable finding and investigated its distribution among respondents. Conversely at every point in their training and practice, from half to three-quarters of respondents reported never or infrequently experiencing burnout. This study represents the largest pathologist cohort survey to date about pathologists' burnout. Importantly, especially for those considering pathology as a career, these data are on the low end of the distribution of burnout among specialties for those in practice.