Many healthcare workers are experiencing burnout

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  • Healthcare workers in a Canadian cardiac centre have been experiencing high levels of stress
  • In a survey, they answered a series of questions related to stress
  • Burnout has a negative impact on the care healthcare workers provide

A new study has found that one of the world's most renowned cardiac centres is experiencing high levels of burnout among healthcare workers. The research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal Open surveyed doctors, nurses and allied health staff of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Canada.

The 414 hospital staff answered a series of questions about the level of stress they experienced during the previous month. The study evaluated health workers' fatigue; depression; burnout; anxiety or stress; mental and physical quality of life; work-life integration; meaning associated with work; and distress.

The study also evaluated the workers' perception of the adequacy of staffing levels and fair treatment in the workplace. The results were compared to outcomes for corresponding healthcare professionals at academic health science centres in the United States. The study was conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staff burnout

The results of the study show that 78% of nurses, 73% of allied health staff and 65% of physicians described burnout in the month prior to the administration of the survey. The study also found that 79% of nurses, 56% of allied health staff and 55% of physicians had high levels of distress. The impact of burnout on clinicians can include extreme fatigue, professional dissatisfaction, job turnover, decreased quality of life, and thoughts of suicide.

"In my 35 years as a physician I have never seen a more serious issue for clinicians than burnout," lead author Dr Barry Rubin said in a news statement.

"Burnout also has a negative impact on the care we provide. It is associated with an increased incidence of medical errors, serious safety events, readmission to hospital, worse patient outcomes and in some situations even increased patient mortality. Clinician burnout is a public health crisis that we must address now,” says Rubin.

“It is critical we address these issues and work together to bring about much-needed change. Healthcare workers give their all to care for others; it is time they are cared for too,” Rubin adds.

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