Burnout syndrome among Australian intensivists: a survey.

Yahya Shehabi, Geoffrey Dobb, Ian Jenkins, Ranald Pascoe, Nicholas Edwards, Warwick Butt

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25 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To examine practice patterns and workload of practising Australian intensivists and to investigate the risk and prevalence of "burnout syndrome". DESIGN AND SETTING: On-line survey was emailed to 324 intensivists listed on the database of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) and practising in Australia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prospectively recorded workload during a specific week in October 2007, self-reported 12-weekly averaged work pattern, and prevalence of burnout syndrome assessed by modified Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS). RESULTS: 115 intensivists (36%) responded; respondents were representative of mainstream tertiary intensive care practitioners. On average in a 12-week period, intensivists spent 42% of working days in bedside patient management, 16% in administration, 11% in locum positions, 9% in research and 9% in recreational leave. During 1 week of prospective recording of actual workload, 26% of intensivists managed more than nine ventilated patients, and most admitted more than two new patients per day. Most were involved in more than two family conferences with a median duration of 1 h. The MBI-GS showed that 80% of respondents had signs of psychological stress and discomfort, 42% showed signs of emotional exhaustion, 32% had negative feelings and cynicism, and 37% considered they underachieved in terms of personal accomplishments. CONCLUSIONS: Intensivists are at high risk of burnout syndrome. Recognising the drivers and early signs of burnout and identifying a preventive strategy is a professional priority for ANZICS and the intensive care community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-315
Number of pages4
JournalCritical Care and Resuscitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

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