Evaluation of physician burnout at a major trauma centre using the Copenhagen burnout inventory: cross-sectional observational study

Benjamin Caesar, Ahmed Barakat, Catherine Bernard, Donna Butler
Irish Journal of Medical Science 2020, 189 (4): 1451-1456

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers are susceptible to burnout owing to the demanding nature of their profession. The sequela of this is an increased incidence of medical errors and decreased job satisfaction.

AIMS: This study aimed to assess the degree of burnout among physicians of different grades and specialties in a major trauma centre.

METHODS: This study was performed in a UK tertiary trauma centre (Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals) in which 165 doctors from four medical specialties working with acute admissions were given the Copenhagen burnout inventory questionnaire via email and responses were received anonymously. Mean scores were calculated, and a two-tailed P test was performed to assess for statistically significant difference between patient- and work-related factors.

RESULTS: The response rate was 77.57% (n = 165). General surgeons had the highest total burnout mean score of 50.00 with an SD of 12.78 followed by emergency medicine, acute medicine and finally orthopaedics. Junior doctors had an overall score of 53.42 with a standard deviation of 5.21, followed by consultants and registrars. The total burnout scores showed that 7.0% (n = 9) had low burnout scores while 56.3% (n = 72) had moderate burnout and 36.7% (n = 47) had high burnout scores. A two-tailed P test revealed a statistically significant difference between the work-related and patient-related subscales (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Ninety-three percent of responders demonstrated either moderate or high levels of burnout in this study. Work-related factors appeared to contribute more to occurrence of burnout rather than the patient-related or doctor-patient interactions.

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