Burned Out By The Pandemic, 3 In 10 Health-Care Workers Consider Leaving The Profession
The doctor’s bag now sits in his closet gathering dust. He lost his stethoscope somewhere in the house — a familiar weight that sat on his neck for two decades.
It’s been months since Justin Meschler, 48, practiced medicine. And he wonders if he ever will again.
He quit his job as an anesthesiologist during the pandemic last spring when fear began seeping into every part of his life. And what began as a few months off has now turned into something much longer.
“I feel guilty for leaving. I think about the others who stayed on. I think about the patients I could have helped. I feel like I abandoned them,” Meschler said. “But mostly, I feel relieved.”
A year into the pandemic, many others are joining Meschler at the door — an exodus fueled by burnout, trauma and disillusionment. According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, roughly 3 in 10 health-care workers have weighed leaving their profession. More than half are burned out. And about6 in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.