Background: Palliative medicine physicians may be at higher risk of burnout due to increased stressors and compromised resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burnout prevalence and factors influencing this among UK and Irish palliative medicine physicians is unknown. Aim: To determine the prevalence of burnout and the degree of resilience among UK and Irish palliative medicine physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated factors. Design: Online survey using validated assessment scales assessed burnout and resilience: The Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey for Medical Personnel [MBI-HSS (MP)] and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). Additional tools assessed depressive symptoms, alcohol use, and quality of life. Setting/participants: Association of Palliative Medicine of UK and Ireland members actively practising in hospital, hospice or community settings. Results: There were 544 respondents from the 815 eligible participants (66.8%), 462 provided complete MBI-HSS (MP) data and were analysed. Of those 181/462 (39.2%) met burnout criteria, based on high emotional exhaustion or depersonalisation subscales of the MBI-HSS (MP). A reduced odds of burnout was observed among physicians who worked ⩽20 h/week (vs 31–40 h/week, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.002–0.56) and who had a greater perceived level of clinical support (aOR 0.70, 95% CI 0.62–0.80). Physicians with higher levels of depressive symptoms had higher odds of burnout (aOR 18.32, 95% CI 6.75–49.73). Resilience, mean (SD) CD-RISC score, was lower in physicians who met burnout criteria compared to those who did not (62.6 (11.1) vs 70.0 (11.3); p < 0.001). Conclusions: Over one-third of palliative medicine physicians meet burnout criteria. The provision of enhanced organisational and colleague support is paramount in both the current and future pandemics.
Boland, J. W., Kabir, M., Spilg, E. G., Webber, C., Bush, S. H., Murtagh, F., & Lawlor, P. G. (2023). Over a third of palliative medicine physicians meet burnout criteria: Results from a survey study during the COVID-19 pandemic. Palliative medicine, 37(3), 343-354. https://doi.org/10.1177/02692163231153067