Recent Survey Shows Time With Family and Vacations Key To Physician Mental Health 

04 Mar, 2024 F.J. Thomas


Sarasota, FL ( – Recent reports have shown that stress management, along with implementing positive outlooks, makes a big difference in employees and outcomes. They can also make a big difference in the level of burnout and job satisfaction among the physicians that may be treating your employees, according to the most recent Medscape Physician Lifestyle & Happiness Report.

While healthcare in general has struggled with high rates of burnout and worker shortages, a survey conducted late last year indicated that physicians could be on the path to better mental health in 2024. The Physician Lifestyle & Happiness Report gives some insight into how physicians are managing their stress, as well as maintaining a positive outlook. Some of the key takeaways could be valuable information for employers and case workers as well. 

At 78 percent, spending time with family and friends was given as the top way physicians maintain their happiness and mental health. Engaging in activities that they enjoy came in second at 71 percent, followed by exercise at 67 percent, and sleeping more at 51 percent. Forty-eight percent of physicians cited eating healthy as key to maintaining happiness, but only 11 percent listed therapy as an important element. 

It would appear that therapy is not being utilized as well as it could be, however some experts believe that may be due in part to time restrictions, and shame associated with psychotherapy. An unsustainable high demand for psychotherapists may also be at play in addition to the time constraints and stigmas. 

According to report earlier this month from Medical Republic, 90 percent pf psychiatrists believe that the workforce shortages are a direct threat to patient care. In the face of such overwhelming statistics, between 30 to 40 percent of psychiatrist state they are considering leaving the profession within the next five years. 

According to the Medscape report, physicians under the age of 45 were more likely to prioritize time with their families in order to maintain happiness than older physicians. Seventy-eight percent of physicians under the age of 45 stated prioritizing family time was extremely important, compared to 67 percent of physicians over the age of 45. When broken out by gender, female physicians were more likely to prioritize family time at 76 percent, compared to 68 of male physicians. 

Overall, 4 weeks of vacation per year was thought to be the right amount to maintain a work-life balance. Seventy-eight percent of physicians stated they kept their vacation time at 4 weeks or less, with 44 percent stating they took 3 to 4 weeks per year. Twenty-seven percent stated they took 1 to 2 weeks per year, and 13 percent stated they took 5 to 6 weeks. Seven percent stated they took a week or less of vacation, and 9 percent stated they took 6 weeks or greater. 

Seventy-three percent of the physicians polled indicated that vacations were key to their happiness and mental health. Twenty-two percent stated they were somewhat important to maintaining their mental health.  

 According to the report, spending time with family and taking breaks can be an important part of a holistic approach in maintaining mental wellness and work life balance. 

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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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