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The cornerstone of this improvement project was a series of clinician focus groups. Here's what they told us about well-being.

Fam Pract Manag. 2024;31(3):23-28

This content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosures: no relevant financial affiliations.

While significant data exists to demonstrate that clinicians are increasingly becoming burned out, surprisingly little data exists to support interventions to prevent it. Like many organizations, ours has struggled to address the underlying, system-level characteristics that drive clinician burnout and diminish joy in practice.1 So, in late 2019, we created Project Thrive to explore how to best support our clinicians' well-being. The cornerstone of this project was a series of focus groups in which we asked our clinicians for their input, not specifically to uncover “what burns us out” but to illuminate “what builds us up.” In the end, we learned much more than that.

This article shares the steps we followed, what we learned, and what we have done based on the results.


  • In a series of focus groups, clinicians reported that relationships, collaboration, efficiency, adequate time with patients, and innovation bring them joy, while team effectiveness and team members working at the top of their licenses helped them feel accomplished and valued.

  • Staffing shortages, in-basket volumes, inadequate compensation, poor team dynamics, low levels of autonomy, and administrative burdens were identified as barriers to thriving.

  • Seeking clinician input on ways to improve their well-being is essential, but organizations must also provide leadership support and take action.

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