The states with the most overworked clinicians

Female nurse looking stressed
Clinicians in some states may face a higher workload than others, a new report suggests. (Getty/gpointstudio)

Burnout is common among doctors and nurses, but clinicians in some states may be especially overworked, according to a new report.

Medicare Health Plans, which offer Medicaid insurance plans across the country and educates seniors about the program, used data from the Census Bureau, Kaiser Family Foundation and FBI crime statistics to determine which states had the fewest doctors and nurses based on their populations, and found that doctors and nurses in some states were far outnumbered by possible patients.

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For doctors, the five “most overworked” states were:

  1. Idaho (1.7 doctors per 1,000 people)
  2. Wyoming (1.9 doctors per 1,000 people)
  3. Nevada (2 doctors per 1,000 people)
  4. Utah (2.1 doctors per 1,000 people)
  5. Mississippi (2.1 doctors per 1,000 people)

For nurses, the top five were:

  1. Hawaii (1.9 nurses per 1,000 people)
  2. Utah (5.7 nurses per 1,000 people)
  3. Wisconsin (5.8 nurses per 1,000 people)
  4. Wyoming (6 nurses per 1,000 people)
  5. District of Columbia (7.9 nurses per 1,000 people)

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The report cautions that these figures are not necessarily reflective of clinicians’ individual patient flow numbers in those states, but said that the results can offer providers a better idea as to which states require more recruitment and retention efforts, especially amid the physician shortage.

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Clinicians with lighter workloads are more likely to provide high-quality patient care. Stressed out doctors and nurses are both more prone to mistakes that can cause patient harm. Doctors say that the hospitals and practices they work for aren’t doing enough to solve the problem.

Burnout and stress can be linked to a number of factors in the workplace, including a hectic environment and the workload tied to electronic health records and other administrative tasks.