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How Leaders, Teams and Organisations can prevent Burnout and build Resilience: a thematic analysis’
  1. Mervyn Yong Hwang Koh1,
  2. Hwee Sing Khoo2,
  3. Marysol Dalisay Gallardo1 and
  4. Allyn Hum1
  1. 1Department of Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
  2. 2Health Outcomes and Medical Education Research (HOMER), National Healthcare Group, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mervyn Yong Hwang Koh, Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore 308433, Singapore; mervyn_koh{at}


Content Burnout occurs commonly in palliative care. Building resilience helps to mitigate the effects of burnout. Little is known about the importance of leaders, teams and organisations in preventing burnout and promoting resilience in palliative care.

Objectives We studied palliative care clinicians with more than a decade’s experience looking into their experiences on the role leaders, teams and organisations play in burnout and resilience.

Patients and methods This is a thematic analysis focusing on how leaders, teams and organisations influence burnout and resilience. 18 palliative care clinicians—5 doctors, 10 nurses and 3 social workers—who worked in various palliative care settings (hospital, home hospice and inpatient hospice) were interviewed using semistructured questionnaires. The mean age of the interviewees was 52 years old, and the mean number of years practising palliative care was 15.7 years (ranging from 10 to 25 years). The interviews were recorded verbatim and were transcribed and analysed using a thematic analysis approach.

Results The following themes featured prominently in our study. For leaders: being supportive, caring and compassionate, being a good communicator and showing protective leadership. With teams: being like-minded, caring for the team, sharing the burden and growing together. For organisations: having a strong commitment to palliative care, supporting staff welfare and development, open communication, adequate staffing and organisational activities promoting staff well-being were described as protective against burnout and promoting resilience.

Conclusion Leaders, teams and organisations play an important role in helping palliative care teams to reduce burnout and promote resilience.

  • psychological care
  • quality of life

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  • Contributors MYHK, AH, SHK were involved in the conceptualising and data analysis of the paper. All authors including MDG were involved in the writing of the paper.

  • Funding This study was funded by a grant from Health Outcomes and Medical Education Research, National Healthcare Group (Grant no. FY18/A03).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study received ethical approval from the National Healthcare Group Domain Specific Review Board (NHG DSRB Ref: 2017/00667).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. The study participants details were deidentified.