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Wellness and burnout in cardiac surgery: not black and white.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Despite a growing emphasis on burnout in medicine, there remains a paucity of data in cardiac surgery. Herein, we summarize recent data on cardiac surgeon well being and identify factors for consideration in future burnout inquiries and management.

RECENT FINDINGS: Overall, 70-90% of cardiothoracic surgeons report job satisfaction in the United States. However, 35-60% still endorse burnout symptoms, and the specialty reports some of the highest rates of depression (35-40%) and suicidal ideation (7%). Such negative experiences are greater among early-stage and female surgeons and may be addressed through targeted, program-specific wellness policies. Canada's single-payer healthcare system might exacerbate surgeon burnout due to lower financial compensation and job autonomy.

SUMMARY: Cardiothoracic surgeons appear simultaneously burnt out and professionally fulfilled. They report a high incidence of depression and clock in the most hours, yet the majority would choose this specialty again. These findings reveal a more nuanced state of well being than previously appreciated and speak to ambiguities in how burnout is conceived and measured. A broader examination across surgical and social contexts highlights the hierarchical nature of burnout factors and potential ways forward. Collectively, these insights can inform assessments of burnout in Canadian cardiac surgery that remain absent to date.

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