Physician Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: Individual and Institutional Response to an Emerging Crisis

  • Terri BabineauEmail author
  • Ann Thomas
  • Velyn Wu
Physician Wellness and Burnout (J Hackworth and K Jerardi, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Physician Wellness and Burnout


Purpose of the review

This paper reviews the recent literature in burnout and compassion fatigue focusing on institutional factors influencing burnout where providers work as well as the individual factors affecting providers. In this review, there is an evaluation of the causes and interventions of burnout and compassion fatigue and areas for intervention.

Recent findings

The percentage of those suffering from burnout is decreasing for the first time in several years, and there are interventions to help decrease the impact of burnout and compassion fatigue. For an individual provider, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and improved communication appear to be productive approaches to help with burnout. Institutional approaches that mitigate the impact of burnout in healthcare include assessing provider needs and returning some autonomy and control over workload to the provider.


Burnout and compassion fatigue remain a significant problem in healthcare and impact patient care as well as the well-being of providers. There are approaches that are working to decrease this impact in both the individual provider as well as the institutions in which providers are working. The research in this area from an individual perspective and a business perspective is only beginning.


Burnout Compassion fatigue Institutional factors EMR Mindfulness Cognitive behavioral therapy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Terri Babineau declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ann Thomas declares that she has no conflict of interest. Velyn Wu declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency MSt Student in MBCTUniversity of OxfordLynchburgUSA
  2. 2.Lynchburg Family Medicine ResidencyLynchburgUSA

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