AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 4, 2019


Sabbatical: Is this Burnout’s Enemy?

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With more public discussions of wellness and burnout affecting physicians and neurosurgeons are being had, does a sabbatical for a neurosurgeon make sense? A sabbatical is understood as paid leave, typically for one year, to step away from your current work environment. Typically, the year allows one to delve into a research topic or travel. Interestingly, the word derives from “Sabbath” of Judeo-Christian theology, referring to a day of religious observance free from work. In the United States, Harvard University established the first system for faculty sabbatical in 18801. By 1920, offering sabbatical leave to faculty had become widespread among elite U.S. colleges.

While the term sabbatical is often associated with colleges offering faculty time off, the term has broadened to encompass any professional seeking an extended, paid leave from his or her job.

What to Think about when Considering a Sabbatical

Is a sabbatical right for you? The decision is obviously personal and complex. With an increased focus on burnout, however, taking a break from the stresses of operating, taking call, and dealing with regulatory burdens can be a welcome opportunity to remember what it is about the practice of neurosurgery that inspires you. 

Read More

A Rejuvenating Sabbatical

Dr. Maroon: Four Questions about Wellness and Burnout


1. Eells, Walter Crosby. The Origin and Early History of sabbatical leave. AAUP Bulletin, vol. 48, no. 3, 1962, p. 253.

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