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Vol 6, No 4 (2007)
Original articles
Published online: 2008-02-20
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How to avoid becoming an emotional bankrupt. An estimate of the job burnout level of palliative medicine specialists in comparison with other medical practitioners

Małgorzata Krajnik, Magdalena Muszalska, Maria Rogiewicz
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2007;6(4):125-130.

open access

Vol 6, No 4 (2007)
Original articles
Published online: 2008-02-20

Abstract

Background. Job burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur in people working with others. The aim of the study is to estimate the level of job burnout among palliative medicine specialists when compared with other medical practitioners.
Material and methods. The level of total job burnout and its three dimensions (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, reduced personal accomplishment and personal commitment) were assessed with the self-description Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) questionnaire.
Results. The study sample group comprised 518 medical practitioners of different specializations, including 79 palliative medicine specialists, 74 surgeons, 77 psychiatrists, 65 anaesthetists, 84 general practitioners, 67 radiologists and 72 dentists. Palliative medicine specialists showed one of the lowest levels of emotional exhaustion and only slightly higher than the level occupied by psychiatrists and dentists. Like dentists, they showed a lower level of depersonalization and had a better sense of personal accomplishment and job satisfaction, scoring even higher in this aspect than surgeons. Amongst palliative medicine specialists, 16% reached low rates on each of the MBI subscales simultaneously (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, lack of a sense of personal accomplishment), which means that they showed no symptoms of job burnout syndrome (the average for all examined medical practitioners being 15%). Only 4% of palliative care specialists were "highly burnt-out" (with a 9% rate for the whole group of those studied), which means that they had the highest results compared to the reference values in all three scales of MBI.
Conclusion. The intensity of job burnout is associated with the kind of professional duties characteristic to a given medical specialization. In comparison with other medical practitioners, palliative medicine specialists seem to suffer the negative consequence of excessive work-related stress in the form of job burnout to a much smaller extent.

Abstract

Background. Job burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur in people working with others. The aim of the study is to estimate the level of job burnout among palliative medicine specialists when compared with other medical practitioners.
Material and methods. The level of total job burnout and its three dimensions (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, reduced personal accomplishment and personal commitment) were assessed with the self-description Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) questionnaire.
Results. The study sample group comprised 518 medical practitioners of different specializations, including 79 palliative medicine specialists, 74 surgeons, 77 psychiatrists, 65 anaesthetists, 84 general practitioners, 67 radiologists and 72 dentists. Palliative medicine specialists showed one of the lowest levels of emotional exhaustion and only slightly higher than the level occupied by psychiatrists and dentists. Like dentists, they showed a lower level of depersonalization and had a better sense of personal accomplishment and job satisfaction, scoring even higher in this aspect than surgeons. Amongst palliative medicine specialists, 16% reached low rates on each of the MBI subscales simultaneously (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, lack of a sense of personal accomplishment), which means that they showed no symptoms of job burnout syndrome (the average for all examined medical practitioners being 15%). Only 4% of palliative care specialists were "highly burnt-out" (with a 9% rate for the whole group of those studied), which means that they had the highest results compared to the reference values in all three scales of MBI.
Conclusion. The intensity of job burnout is associated with the kind of professional duties characteristic to a given medical specialization. In comparison with other medical practitioners, palliative medicine specialists seem to suffer the negative consequence of excessive work-related stress in the form of job burnout to a much smaller extent.
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Keywords

palliative medicine; burnout; depersonalization

About this article
Title

How to avoid becoming an emotional bankrupt. An estimate of the job burnout level of palliative medicine specialists in comparison with other medical practitioners

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 6, No 4 (2007)

Pages

125-130

Published online

2008-02-20

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2007;6(4):125-130.

Keywords

palliative medicine
burnout
depersonalization

Authors

Małgorzata Krajnik
Magdalena Muszalska
Maria Rogiewicz

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