Combatting the Great Resignation

We’ve heard of medicine’s “great resignation”, but research now exists to back up this claim. One in five physicians claim they will likely leave their current practice within two years according to a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovation, Quality & Outcomes titled: “COVID-Related Stress and Work Intentions in a Sample of U.S. Health Care Workers.”


The research was based on more than 20,000 healthcare workers from 124 institutions in the United States. The respondents were surveyed for fear of viral exposure or transmission, COVID-19–related anxiety or depression, work overload, burnout, and intentions to reduce hours or leave their jobs.


The study also found that about one in three doctors and other health professionals say they intend to reduce work hours in the next 12 months, however this decision was not based on COVID-19-related stressors.


The study notes that “reducing burnout and improving a sense of feeling valued may allow health care organizations to better maintain their workforces postpandemic.”


What steps can be taken to slow the impending “great resignation”?


  1. Healthcare institutions need to make their employees feel valued. Although burnout in the healthcare industry has always been a serious issue, COVID-19 has elevated the need to institutions to take the right steps to retain employees. To do this, the American Medical Association suggests:

  • Transparent communication.

  • Support for child care.

  • Rapid training to support deployment to unfamiliar units, which may demonstrate organizational appreciation to workers.

  1. Physicians need to take their future into their own hands. Quality of life for physicians and other healthcare workers should be top priority, but it can sometimes be left to the individual to make the decision that’s best for them. Instead of leaving the practice all together, physicians should consider other options available to them, like locum tenens work.


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