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Burnout in physicians: a survey of the Danish society for palliative medicine

Abstract

Objectives Burnout, which is a state of prolonged physical and psychological exhaustion, seems to be a prevalent and serious problem among healthcare workers. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of burnout symptoms among members of Danish Society of Palliative Medicine (DSPaM).

Methods All 160 physician members of DSPaM were invited to a questionnaire survey. The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) was used to evaluate and differentiate between personal, work-related and client-related burnout.

Results 76 members responded (47,5%). 51% regularly received supervision. Scores on personal burnout demonstrated that 25% had no symptoms and 55% had symptoms that required attention; however, no respondents needed immediate intervention. Regarding work-related burnout: 40% had no symptoms, 20% had symptoms that needed attention and 3% needed immediate help. Regarding client-related burnout: 65% had no symptoms, 32% had symptoms that needed attention and none needed immediate intervention.

Conclusions This survey demonstrated a relatively low rate of burnout symptoms among members of the DSPaM. In particular, the client-related burnout score was low, while higher scores were observed in personal and work-related burnout. Despite the relatively low overall levels of burnout, it is notable that about half of the physicians reported personal burnout, which needs to be addressed.

  • terminal care
  • supportive care
  • education and training
  • communication

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