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Journal of Wellness

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Emergency medicine (EM) is a high-stress specialty. Work related stress and burnout have been reported to negatively impact physician-patient interactions, overall physician mental and physical health, and most importantly, patient outcomes. We assessed the rates of burnout among emergency physicians (EPs) at our centre.

METHODS: A local cross-sectional study to assess burnout among adult and pediatric EPs, fellows and residents was conducted at three Emergency Departments (EDs) at a single institution in Canada. The anonymous online survey encompassed demographics, the validated MBI tool (Maslach Burnout Inventory) and additional questions aimed at identifying determinants of EP burnout. Each respondent’s three MBI scale scores, (Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment), were calculated as described in the MBI manual. Descriptive statistics were calculated and relationships between risk factors and burnout scores were examined using t-tests, one-way ANOVAs, and/or regression analyses where appropriate.

RESULTS: The survey had a 72% (84/118) response rate. Results indicated a high degree of burnout among EPs with 66.2% of respondents meeting the cutoff for burnout. Physicians who were single, female, CCFP-EM trained and those having fewer years of practice were identified to have higher burnout scores. We did not identify any factors to be predictive or any associated with Personal Accomplishment.

CONCLUSION: Consistent with previous literature, EPs at this institution were shown to be at risk for moderate to severe burnout. Despite this, they showed high feelings of personal accomplishment. This study suggests that opportunities exist for wellness programs targeted at identified high risk groups.

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