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ENT Surgeon Burnout – Can Scribes Help With This “Burning Issue”?

ENT Surgeon Burnout

Being an ENT surgeon is undoubtedly challenging, involving a mix of clinical, surgical, research, teaching, and administrative responsibilities. Amidst these demands, burnout emerges as a significant concern, stemming from factors such as excessive workload, increased paperwork, high patient volumes, long intense hours and poor work-life integration. While ENT surgeons generally have lower burnout rates compared to a few other medical specialties, many still report experiencing moderate to severe burnout. Dr. Julie Wei, a renowned Pediatric ENT Surgeon, openly shared how she struggled to balance the demands of her professional and personal life, ultimately losing her passion for medicine. In this blog post, we'll explore the prevalence of burnout among ENT surgeons and examine the potential for employing a medical scribe as a solution.

Burnout Correlated With a Higher Incidence of Medical Errors Amongst ENT Surgeons

Burnout is something that has to be taken seriously. Did you know that physician burnout is not only potentially dangerous for physicians, but also for patients? Well, burnout has been linked with 2-fold increased odds for low-quality, unsafe patient care. Increased evidence suggests that ENT surgeons experiencing high levels of burnout are more likely to make medical errors. Studies report that major medical errors reported by surgeons are strongly related to a surgeon's degree of burnout. 9% of surgeons reporting burnout symptoms are twice as likely to have made a major mistake in the last three months. Medical errors not only jeopardize patient safety but can also lead to medical malpractice lawsuits. No wonder, ENT surgeons are turning to scribes “the documentation specialists” to alleviate the administrative burden that could contribute to injurious, sometimes even fatal medical errors. By having another set of eyes and ears, ENT surgeons can reduce medical-error triggers and improve patient safety.

Burnout During COVID-19 and Beyond – Can Scribes Help Alleviate The Overwhelming Clerical Workload?

Burnout among physicians is a growing concern and surgeons are in no way immune to this threat. A study investigated burnout rates among otolaryngologists during the COVID-19 pandemic and revealed a 21.8% prevalence in the US. However, academic otolaryngologists face even higher rates, ranging from 70% to 75%, indicating a heightened vulnerability. Another study in 2021 assessed burnout among ENT residents during the pandemic across personal, work-related, and patient-related parameters. The mean work-related burnout score was 47.975, attributed to stressors like excessive workload and long hours. Enhancing overall efficiency can alleviate otolaryngologists' workload and uplift morale. Time and again, studies have demonstrated that integrating medical scribes is associated with reduced burnout resulting from excessive administrative tasks and extended work hours. Therefore, incorporating scribes can reduce the strain of high clerical workloads, potentially reducing burnout among otolaryngologists.

Strategies To Tackle Burnout And Promote Well-being In Otolaryngologists

Burnout among otolaryngology surgeons has been shown to result in judgment and surgical errors, adverse patient events, impaired interactions with patients and families, and diminished commitment and dedication to productive, safe and optimal patient care. Stressors are unavoidable, but how ENT surgeons cope with them matters the most. Indulging in regular exercise, practicing mindfulness and meditation, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, prioritizing self-care and above all delegating tasks are some of the ways to avoid burnout. Surgeons should not hesitate to seek assistance with tasks that others can handle, such as utilizing a scribe for note-taking and administrative tasks. Employing a medical scribe for documentation support allows for a better balance between work and personal life, allowing ENT physicians to pursue their passions, spend quality time with loved ones, and nurture their physical and mental health.


ENT surgeons embark on a challenging journey to restore functionality, alleviate suffering, and bring back the joy of sensory experiences. Indeed, those healing hands touch lives and transform the world of ENT surgery. Despite its virtues, being a surgeon is inherently stressful, potentially leading to burnout. Stressors stemming from job demands such as excessive administrative tasks, limited patient interaction time, and extended work hours can be mitigated by improving medical practice efficiency. Improving practice efficiency can decrease the time spent on repetitive non-clinical tasks, ultimately boosting morale. Therefore, employing an ENT medical scribe to manage the overwhelming workload is a perfect choice. This allows surgeons to reduce the amount of time spent on non-clinical responsibilities and spend more time on what they do best – performing surgeries. If you are an ENT surgeon who plows through “excessive bureaucracy” that makes it really hard not to be burned out, hire Physicians Angels ENT scribes. Contact us today to learn more.

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Physicians Angels

More time for physicians to see more patients, provide better care, and live their lives. Physicians Angels provides one-of-a-kind EMR data management services to healthcare providers through our real time Virtual Scribe service.