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Clinical Trials Update
October 22/29, 2019

Counseling Reduces Physician Burnout

JAMA. 2019;322(16):1544. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.16855

Physicians reported less burnout and emotional exhaustion after receiving short-term professional coaching, according to a pilot trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Of the 88 physicians who volunteered for the study, those who were randomized to the coaching group received 3.5 hours of coaching sessions over 5 months. Professional coaches conducted the sessions by phone, covering themes such as optimizing meaning in work, addressing workload, and engaging in self-care. The control group received no intervention during the study period.

At 5 months, the proportion of physicians reporting high emotional exhaustion decreased 19.5% in the coaching group but increased 9.8% in the control group. The prevalence of burnout symptoms also decreased 17.1% in the coaching group, while it increased 4.9% in the control group. Quality of life and resilience improved only in the coaching group. There was no difference between the groups in job satisfaction.