Burnout and Professional Fulfillment in Early and Early-Mid-Career Breast Surgeons

Jennifer Q. Zhang, Joe Dong, Jaime Pardo, Isha Emhoff, Stephanie Serres, Tait Shanafelt, Ted James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Prior work has shown that burnout among breast surgeons is prevalent and highest in those earlier in their clinical practice career. Therefore, we sought to better understand and identify specific contributors to early-career breast surgeon burnout. Methods: We analyzed data from our 2017 survey of members of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. The 16-items of the Professional Fulfillment Index were used in determining overall burnout and professional fulfillment scores. Multivariable regressions were performed to evaluate factors related to overall burnout and professional fulfillment. Results: The mean overall burnout score was 1.23 (0–4 scale; higher score unfavorable) for surgeons in practice < 5 years, compared with 1.39 for surgeons in practice 5–9 years and 1.22 for those in practice ≥ 10 years. The mean professional fulfillment score was 2.71 (0–4 scale; higher score favorable) for surgeons in practice < 5 years, 2.66 for surgeons in practice 5–9 years, and 2.67 for surgeons in practice ≥ 10 years. Multivariable analysis showed that burnout was positively correlated with ≥ 60 work hours per week in the group practicing for < 5 years, and dedicating less than full time to breast surgery in the group in practice 5–9 years. Professional fulfillment was negatively associated with single relationship status in surgeons practicing < 5 years, and dedicating less than full time to breast surgery for those in practice 5–9 years. Conclusion: Our study suggests that breast surgeons who have been in practice for 5–9 years have particularly high overall burnout rates and additional support focused on this group of breast surgeons may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6051-6057
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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