Could you be suffering from burnout, imposter syndrome, depression, or anxiety? We have examined the commonest work-related psychological issues in doctors and we have curated a series of validated questionnaires that will at least assist you in screening for these problems. These physician burnout tests have been validated in multiple populations but crucially in doctors, too.
Please note: Online screening tools are not diagnostic instruments. You are encouraged to share your results with a physician or other healthcare provider.
Burnout is an occupational syndrome recognized by the World Health Organization, caused by unmanaged chronic workplace stress. Burnout is characterized by:
There are a number of burnout screening or scoring tools available.
Doctors suffer from depression more than the general population (up to 6%) and other professional groups. While there is wide variation across countries, recent meta-analyses of global studies estimate an overall prevalence of 27% in medical students, 29% in registrars and 13% – 60% in practicing doctors.
Keep in mind that your depression rating does not represent a formal diagnosis of depression. Instead, your rating indicates that you have some of the common symptoms associated with depression and, therefore, may have the illness. If you have answered all the questions as honestly as possible and you feel that the results of the test are accurate, you should consult a health care professional to obtain a formal diagnosis of depression if so indicated.
Mental Health America also hosts an online anxiety test based on the GAD-7, a validated screening tool for generalised anxiety disorder.
OK, so until a few years ago, I had never heard of this. Ironic because I suffered from it for much of my career (“at some point,they will find out I’m incompetent and fire me”) but I didn’t have a name for it until my rock bottom.
Impostor Syndrome (or “Imposterism”) is characterized by chronic feelings of self-doubt and fear of being discovered as an intellectual fraud. Despite evidence of abilities, those suffering from Imposter Syndrome are unable to internalize a sense of accomplishment, competence, or skill.
They believe themselves to be less intelligent and competent than others perceive them to be. A 1998 study by Henning et al found that among medical, dental, nursing, and pharmacy students, 30% scored as impostors, and imposterism was the strongest predictor of general psychological distress.
Impressively, there is even a validated Imposter Syndrome tool which was recently used in a JAMA paper on the power of coaching to prevent burnout in female residents.
The Young Impostor Syndrome Scale is an 8-item measurement of impostor syndrome with yes or no scoring. A score of 5 or more indicates the presence of impostor syndrome and a score of less than 5 indicates no impostor syndrome.
We could not find an online calculator, but you can download the tool here from the Open Access publishers.
We physicians can be terribly good at compassion for others, and terribly bad at compassion for ourselves. Self-care, self-understanding, and giving ourselves a break when we make mistakes or are just human are seriously deficient in many doctors.
The kindness, empathy, and understanding that we cheerfully give to patients is oddly something we struggle to give ourselves. We argue that this has to change if we are to tackle the physician burnout epidemic.
Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale–Short Form is a 12-item measurement of self-compassion, where higher scores indicate greater self-compassion (scores of 1.0-2.49 are low, scores of 2.5-3.5 are moderate, and scores of 3.51-5.0 are high).
The Self-Compassion Scale is available here.
There is a strong argument that sustained workplace stress where healthcare workers are forced into decisions that compromised their values due to resource or policy issues can cause moral distress and moral injury. Moreover, moral injury has been measured in military personnel, and more recently validated in physicians.
The Moral Injury Symptom Scale–Healthcare Professionals (MISS-HP) is a 10-item Likert scale measurement of moral injury, where the higher scores indicate greater moral injury.
The 10-item MISS-HP measures 10 theoretically grounded dimensions of MI assessing betrayal, guilt, shame, moral concerns, religious struggle, loss of religious/spiritual faith, loss of meaning/purpose, difficulty forgiving, loss of trust, and self-condemnation (score range 10–100).
A cut-off score of 36 or higher was the MISS-HP score that maximized sensitivity and specificity for identifying significant functional impairment warranting further clinical assessment and treatment of MI symptoms.
The linked questions are about your experiences on your job as a health professional and how you are feeling now. Circle a single number between 1 (strongly disagree) and 10 (strongly agree) to indicate how much you personally agree or disagree with each statement.
The scale is available in the appendix of the original article by Mantri and colleagues here.