Recent studies have found a high rate of burnout in family physicians, young physicians, and females in particular. Female family medicine residents are now 55% of trainees. A study of all recertifying American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Diplomates found females more likely than males to report symptoms of burnout at the beginning and ends of their careers, with the highest rates occurring in females under 40 years of age. The survey of residency graduates 3 years out showed that 44% of females met typical criteria for burnout. Other research suggests workplace factors are associated with burnout, and that younger physicians are less likely to report burnout if they practice full-scope family medicine. Many hypotheses exist regarding factors contributing to burnout in females, yet no published studies explore these hypotheses. There is similarly little known about interventions aimed at preventing burnout in women or in helping them recover. Many interventions currently focus on individual wellness, but early research and general consensus suggest that focusing on practice and health system factors.
The Sustaining Women in Medicine (SWIM) project began as an ABFM Foundation funded collaboration between the Illinois and California Academies of Family Physicians, the Robert Graham Center, and ABFM, with a three phased study aimed at understanding the factors contributing to burnout in female family physicians and what interventions may help curb or eliminate burnout in this group. To read more about the study and the results, explore the links below.