HealthDay News — Sexist and racial/ethnic microaggressions against female and minority surgeons and anesthesiologists are prevalent and linked to burnout, according to a study published online in JAMA Surgery.
Neha T. Sudol, MD, from the Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Irvine, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey to examine microaggressions and physician burnout within a cohort of surgeons and anesthesiologists. Data were analyzed for 588 individuals (249 women; 367 racial/ethnic minority).
The researchers found that 94% of the female respondents experienced sexist microaggressions, most often overhearing or seeing degrading female terms or images. Eighty-one percent of racial/ethnic-minority physicians experienced racial/ethnic microaggressions and most commonly reported few leaders or coworkers of the same race/ethnicity. The prevalence of physician burnout was 47% overall and was higher among women and among racial/ethnic-minority physicians (odds ratios, 1.60 and 2.08, respectively).
Higher odds of burnout were reported for female physicians who reported sexist microaggressions (racial/ethnic-minority female physicians: odds ratio, 1.84; White female physicians: odds ratio, 1.99). Burnout was also more likely for racial/ethnic-minority female physicians who experienced racial microaggressions (odds ratio, 1.86). The likelihood of burnout was higher for racial/ethnic-minority female physicians who had the compound experience of sexist and racial/ethnic microaggressions (odds ratio, 2.05).
“These findings highlight the gaps in empathy and compassion within the medical community and society at large,” the authors write.