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Physician and Advanced Practice Clinician Burnout in Rural and Urban Settings.

INTRODUCTION: Recruiting rural-practicing clinicians is a high priority. In this study, we explored burnout and contributing work conditions among rural, urban, and family practice physicians and advanced practice clinicians (APCs) in an Upper Midwestern health care system.

METHODS: The Mini Z burnout reduction measure was administered by anonymous electronic survey in March 2022. We conducted bivariate analyses of study variables, then assessed relationships of study variables to burnout with multivariate binary logistic regression.

RESULTS: Of 1118 clinicians (63% response rate), 589 physicians and 496 APCs were included in this study (n = 1085). Most were female (56%), physicians (54%), and White (86%), while 21% were in family practice, 46% reported burnout, and 349 practiced rurally. Rural and urban clinician burnout rates were comparable (45% vs 47%). Part-time work protected against burnout for family practice and rural clinicians, but not urban clinicians. In multivariate models for rural clinicians, stress (OR: 8.53, 95% CI: 4.09 to 17.78, P < .001 ), lack of workload control (OR: 3.06, 95% CI: 1.47-6.36, P = .003 ), busy/chaotic environments (OR: 2.53, 95% CI: 1.29-4.99, P = .007 ), and intent to leave (OR: 2.18, 95% CI: 1.06-4.45, P = .033 ) increased burnout odds. In family practice clinicians, stress (OR: 13.43 95% CI: 4.90-36.79 , P < .001 ) also significantly increased burnout odds.

CONCLUSIONS: Burnout was comparable between rural and urban physicians and APCs. Part-time work was associated with decreased burnout in rural and family practice clinicians. Addressing burnout drivers (stress, workload control, chaos) may improve rural work environments, reduce turnover, and aid rural clinician recruitment. Addressing stress may be particularly impactful in family practice.

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