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European Board of Intensive Care Medicine

Medical Burn Out

Medical burn out

According to NEXT (an EU co-funded project), one in two emergency care doctors will suffer a burnout during their career.

This observation is based on the sample of 3000 doctors who participated to the NEXT online survey assessing their working conditions, job satisfaction, health and well-being. Almost 18% of all responders were emergency care specialists. The survey unveiled the fact that dysfunctional teams and poor work-life balance were most strongly associated with burnout, both of which were more common among emergency care doctors than other types of medical practitioner.

The responses showed that the prevalence of burnout was high, with 1 in 2 emergency care doctors identified as suffering from it, compared with more than 4 out of 10 of the representative sample. Emergency physicians had the highest burnout rate in the two age groups, between 35 and 44 and between 45 and 54.

The tension between home and working life was more than four times as likely to feature in the responses of burnt out physicians, but it was more than six times as likely to be a factor for emergency care doctors who were burnt out. The degree of burnout is dependent on level of tension.

In addition, the other observation pointed out that the poor teamwork more than doubled the risk of burnout among the representative sample, but it increased this risk more than five-fold among emergency care doctors. Likewise, physicians dissatisfied with their pay among the representative sample declared more burnout compared to those who were satisfied, and this relationship was even stronger for emergency physicians.

Even though there were fewer women among the emergency care respondents, and they were also younger than the doctors in the representative sample, more of the women doctors were burnt out than the men. Female physicians had a high burnout score more frequently among the representative sample than emergency physicians.

With the aim to remedy this negative situation, researchers call for the improvement of work-family balance among the doctors. They emphasize the introduction of collaborative working processes and multidisciplinary teamwork.

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