A Slack survey found that burnout is on the rise globally, most significantly in the U.S., where 43% of middle managers reported burnout—more than any other worker group. Google searches for “calling in sick due to burnout” skyrocketed 860% this past year. The topic of burnout continues to cause rifts throughout the healthcare industry for the very people taking care of the public. But just how bad for you is burnout, according to medical professionals? And how bad do they have it?

In recent years, private equity firms have made waves with their aggressive acquisition strategies that target private practice physicians, buying out private medical practices at record rates. As a result, according to one Forbes.com source, “Doctors are drowning in a sea of paperwork and patient visits—the result of increasing demands foisted on them by insurers and hospital administrators.”

I spoke by email with Kevin Marasco, chief marketing officer at Tebra. “Consolidation of independent practices by large hospital systems has been one of the issues in healthcare that is poorly understood but has massive impact,” he told me. “For providers, this consolidation is not only a business threat, but a potential erosion of a preferred work-life structure that offers greater autonomy, flexibility and more personalized care for those that need it most.”

For a deeper dive into the issue, the team at Tebra surveyed nearly 1,000 Americans and medical practitioners to compare the overall sentiments about hospital systems versus private practices. Their key findings include:

  • 53% of hospital system employees are burned out, and more than two in five are considering switching to private practice for better work-life balance, where slightly less (44%) of private practice owners and employees feel burnt out.
  • 60% of hospital system employees say they need additional support with staff recruitment and retention, compared to 48% of private practice owners and employees.
  • Only 56% of hospital system employees feel appreciated, compared to 73% of private practice owners and employees.
  • 42% of hospital system employees are considering switching to private practice, mostly due to the need for a better work-life balance.
  • 35% of private practice owners and employees are considering switching to a hospital system, primarily due to the higher earning potential.

“The research shows that those who work in private practice reported lower levels of burnout, as well as lower mental and emotional fatigue,” Marasco points out. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the hospital versus private practice challenges:

Top Challenges In A hospital System

  1. High levels of stress and burnout (45%)
  2. Limited resources and staff shortages (41%)
  3. Emotional and mental fatigue (40%)
  4. Difficult patients and families (37%)
  5. Heavy workloads and long hours (36%)

Top challenges In Private Practice

  1. Difficult patients and families (42%)
  2. High levels of stress and burnout (37%)
  3. Emotional and mental fatigue (30%)
  4. Heavy workloads and long hours (29%)
  5. Lack of work-life balance (25%)

The team at Tebra also surveyed 500 healthcare workers, then correlated findings with hospital data from government databases. Key findings include:

  • Three in four agree burnout is fueling a nationwide crisis.
  • Seven in 10 agree current workload levels and stress are untenable.

Among Medical Professionals:

  • 35% feel depressed several times a week.
  • One in four rate their sleep quality poor or very poor.
  • Two in five say sleep deprivation is worsening their depression.
  • Four in five say sleep deprivation is decreasing their ability to concentrate.

Marasco explains that as the height of the Covid-19 pandemic is cooling off, independent practices are facing new challenges. “Economic pressure from reimbursement headwinds, inflation and industry consolidation may leave many communities without adequate care for the people that live there,” he stresses. “This is a public health crisis, threatening the quality of patient care and small practices as we have come to know them. Small businesses are the heartbeat of America and communities lose a lot when independent healthcare practices get strained or go away. Our position at Tebra is to continue to advocate for independent practices to help them survive, thrive and remain independent.”


  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Journalist, psychotherapist, and Author of 40 books.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself." website: https://bryanrobinsonphd.com.