A Survey of Burnout in Academic Pediatric, Adult and a Community ICU in metropolitan Halifax Nova Scotia
CCCF ePoster library. Hancock J. Nov 7, 2018; 233335; 28
Jennifer Hancock
Jennifer Hancock
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In 2016, the Critical Care Societies Collaborative published a Call to Action in an effort to bring attention to an alarmingly high level of burnout in critical care health providers.1   Burnout syndrome develops as a result of chronically high levels of stress in the workplace and is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment2.  Burnout has a significant impact on healthcare providers3,4 the patients whom they care5,6 for and the system in which they work3,7



The purpose of this survey was to identify the rates of burnout and workplace factors that may be contributing to burnout among nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians who work in the ICUs in the Department of Critical Care, Halifax, Nova Scotia.



Surveys were distributed by email link to 271 adult and pediatric ICU nurses (166), respiratory therapists (78) and physicians (27) in the Department of Critical Care, Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Survey design included participant demographics, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) -Human Services Survey for Medical Personnel©, the Areas of Worklife Survey© and a question on moral distress. 



165 (60.9%) of a possible 271 respondents participated in the survey, 88.9% of physicians, 56.0% of nurses and 61.5% of respiratory therapists.  84.2% were adult practioners.  Symptoms of burnout were demonstrated in all three of the MBI domains.  Emotional exhaustion was the highest with 61.8% of respondents scoring moderate or high.  43.0% scored moderate or high in depersonalization and 34.5% scored low in professional accomplishment.  Table 1 shows MBI domain scores for all participants and Table 2 shows the scores by profession.  37.6% of respondents scored high for burnout in 1 domain, 10.9% scored high in two domains and 4.8% scored high in all three domains.   Logistic regression showed that a longer duration of critical care work experience was associated with a lower level of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.  Pediatric healthcare providers had a lower rate of emotional exhaustion compared to adults, but no difference in depersonalization or professional accomplishment. There was no statistic difference between academic vs community centers in any domain.  Analysis of the Areas of Worklife Survey showed a very strong association between five of the six subscales (workload, control, reward, fairness and values) and two of the three burnout domains (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization).   55.2% of participants reported moral distress at least a few times a month and 29.9% reported it at least once a week.



Burnout and moral distress is a significant issue for nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians who work in the ICUs in the Department of Critical Care, Halifax, Nova Scotia.   This knowledge will help provide direction for management and support for our critical care healthcare providers moving forward.


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