Physician Burnout and COVID-19 Stress Survey - 3 Takeaways

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

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3-Medscape-survey-physician-burnout-covid-stress-2020-graphic-1Back in the good old days - March of this year - recall that physician burnout rates had been hovering in the 40% range for  years.

And along comes the Corona. We all feel the additional stress of the current Pandemic chaos - each in our own way.

And physicians being scientists at heart, you may have asked, "is there any research on COVID-19 impact on the pre-existing burnout epidemic in physicians ?"

With some recent article/study releases the answer is now "Yes".

Medscape recently reported out on a member survey asking questions about stress, burnout, income, loneliness and even impact on your family relationships from the 2020 Pandemic.

Let me share some selected highlights from that survey in this blog post.

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COVID-19 Impact on Physicians - Burnout, Income and Loneliness Effects.

This blog post contains highlights from the Medscape US and International Physicians' COVID-19 Experience Report. The full results are here at the Medscape  site - check them out.

Key Survey Findings:

Here are a selection of questions and responses that give us a sample of the breadth and scale of COVID-19 impact on all aspects of our lives as physicians.

Survey responses were returned by 7414 respondents, all Medscape members and practicing physicians, 5000 from the USA. More demographics are here.


Q: Have you treated patients with COVID-19 without having the appropriate PPE?

Percentage answering "always", "often" or "sometimes" ranged from 23% in the USA and Portugal, up to 67% in Spain.


Q: Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Ranged from 5% in the USA to 20% in Spain. 


Q: Have any of your immediate family members been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Low of 6% in Portugal. High of 25% in Spain. USA at 9%


Q: Has your income changed since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

62% of US physicians said Yes.

The survey went further to ask  how much income have you lost. Answer: 51% of doctors surveyed lost at least 25% of their income.

Here is the breakdown:



Q: Has your burnout increased since COVID-19?

64% responded "more intense"
30% "no change"
6% "less intense"


Q: Are your relationships at home better or worse?

44% responded "more stressed
47% "no change"
9% "less stressed


Q: Are you lonelier owing to stay-at-home guidelines and social distancing?

Those responding "more lonely" ranged from 32% in Germany to 51% in Portugal with the USA coming in at 46%


Q: Here is a fascinating set of responses on whether or not you are obligated as a physician to treat COVID-19 positive patients.






  • What has your experience of the Pandemic been?
  • How are your stress and burnout levels?
  • What surprises you about these survey results?



7414 Respondents, all Medscape members and practicing physicians, 5000 from the USA.

Country Breakdown:
USA (n = 5005)
Brazil (n = 400)
France (n = 152)
Germany (n = 273)
Mexico (n = 400)
Portugal (n = 382)
Spain (n = 400)
United Kingdom (n = 402)

Gender Distribution:



Click Here to go back to the survey findings.




Tags: Physician Burnout, Pandemic