Link between FP scope of practice and burnout

In has also been noted by the authors of the study entitled ‘Burnout and Scope of Practice in New Family Physicians’ that there are particular protective benefits that are afforded to family physicians who set aside their time to visit their patients at their respective homes and provide obstetrical care to them alongside practicing impatient medicine.

How the study was done

The study involved two researchers led by author Lars Peterson, M.D., Ph.D., research director at the America Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) in Lexington, Ky., and Amanda Weidner, M.P.H., a research scientist at the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Network in Seattle.

After the study, the team corresponded with AAFP News about the study and its results. They both came in an agreement that their main finding was somewhat unexpected.

Before they began the study, Peterson argued that the association of broader scope of practice and burnout could go either way.

“Given our past findings, which had it that there is a higher probability of early-career family physicians to be burned out, I used to think that the stress of starting career and adapting to independent practice would result into higher burnout in those who were doing more. I was a little surprised when the results were opposite what I thought”, said Peterson

Weidner also added that they were not sure of which way the association might go. The team was pleasantly surprised with their findings.

Timely, Important Topics

The timeliness of the study was noted by the author, given the increasing focus regarding burnout among physicians from United States of America.

Burnout is being recognized to be one of the major problems in the field of medicine- with a large number of physicians who are more likely to suffer burnout as compared to the general public.

As pointed out by Peterson, there is no evenly distribution of the problem among the physician specialties since one of the higher rates is witnessed among family physicians. Early-career family physicians have more distressing rates as compared to those physicians who have been in practice for a longer period.

The researcher team benefited a lot from the ABFM’s relatively new National Family Medicine Graduate Survey, as well as the kind of data collected by the ABFM together with its processes in certification and recertification.

Weidner said that they were not in possession of a whole lot of national data about burnout in family physicians until recently and that they were lacking the ability to conduct comparison to other variables.

Family physician of any age is expected to appreciate the importance of the research findings since they relate to individual physicians and the same applies to the overall healthcare system that always seeks opportunities with the aim of improving patient care and lower costs.