Journal of Anesthesia

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 235–241 | Cite as

Work stress and workload of full-time anesthesiologists in acute care hospitals in Japan

  • Kazuyoshi Kawasaki
  • Miho Sekimoto
  • Tatsuro Ishizaki
  • Yuichi Imanaka
Original Article



The number of anesthesiologists per population in Japan is small compared with that in Europe and North America. While there is a growing concern that hard work causes anesthesiologists’ fatigue and may compromise patient safety, the workload and physical stress, as well as the impact of staff support on physicians’ stress have not been assessed in detail. The goal of this study was to evaluate the working environment, anesthesia workload, and occupational stress of anesthesiologists in Japan.


A questionnaire survey was performed targeting 1010 members of the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists working as anesthesiologists affiliated with acute care hospitals in Japan. Data on background information, working environment, operation anesthesia duties, and stress were collected, and the relationship of work stress with background, environment, and anesthesia duties was evaluated by linear regression analysis.


Responses were obtained from 383 full-time anesthesiologists (response rate, 43.9%). The total anesthesia time per week was 23.6 h on average. The work stress score was 114.3 ± 30.2 (mean ± SD) when the average workers’ work stress score in Japan was 100. The work stress score was significantly associated with “years of experience” (with experience < 10 years considered as the reference; 10–19 years: β = −0.18, P = 0.02, ≥20 years: β = −0.15, P = 0.04), “hospital with ≥500 beds” (with a hospital with ≤ 299 beds considered as the reference; β = 0.15, P = 0.04), “total time of anesthesia per week” (β = 0.18, P.02), “estimated annual cases managed by an anesthesiologist” (β = 0.12, P = 0.04) and “no-support stress” (β = 0.21, P < 0.01) on linear regression analysis (R2 = 0.12).


Our results provide a quantitative assessment of the duties of anesthesiologists and show that work stress among anesthesiologists is related to workload and other factors.

Key words

Anesthesiologist Workload Stress Factors causing stress 


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazuyoshi Kawasaki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miho Sekimoto
    • 2
  • Tatsuro Ishizaki
    • 2
  • Yuichi Imanaka
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiaSanraku HospitalTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Healthcare Economics and Quality ManagementKyoto University Graduate School of MedicineKyotoJapan

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