A sick and tired healthcare worker sits in a corner

Some 25% of physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses surveyed said they are thinking about switching careers, and 33% want to leave their current employer.

The survey, from global consultancy Bain & Company, included a random sampling of 573 full-time clinicians across various specialties, including geriatric medicine. Qualified respondents spent at least 50% of their work week on direct patient care, and worked in either private or group physician practices, hospitals or healthcare systems.

Forty percent of respondents gave their employers low marks on the top five criteria they deemed necessary for job satisfaction. These included better compensation, support to deliver high-quality patient care, a more manageable workload, flexible work arrangements and more clinically focused job responsibilities.

Burnout, lack of resources 

Burnout was the top factor in these career-changing considerations, cited by 89% of respondents. Clinicians described being worn down by the end of the workday, without enough time and energy for family and friends during leisure time. What’s more, 38% said they are exhausted when faced with the prospect of a new workday.

Inadequate staffing was another key reason for discontent, according to 59% of respondents. Lack of resources was also frequently cited, with 40% of clinicians saying that they lacked the support of effective processes and workflows, supplies and equipment they needed to do their best job.

Personal health and safety, at 41%, was another reason respondents gave for poor job satisfaction, while safety of family and friends and financial insecurity were reasons, per 25% of respondents each. 

Avoiding a crisis

Respondents appeared to lay the blame for their dissatisfaction on their employers. The survey showed that the Net Promoter Score, a standardized measure of physicians’ likelihood to recommend their employer, has fallen from 36 points in 2020 to 19 points in 2022. When broken down by workplace type, the 2022 score was lowest — 6 points — for clinicians who worked at management-led practices operated by entities such as hospitals, health systems, a parent company or private equity fund.

The effects of burnout on the viability of the healthcare system should not be underestimated, the survey authors concluded. 

“Given rising inflation and labor shortages, providers will need to ensure they are offering fair and adequate compensation to attract and retain talent,” they wrote.

The authors recommended that healthcare system and facility operators work to mitigate clinician burnout, spark employee engagement and foster a supportive work environment.

More details and recommendations can be found on the company website.