Indian Journal of Medical Specialities

: 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 69--70

Burnout syndrome in doctors in the context of COVID-19 pandemic

Fernando Karel Fonseca Sosa1, Kirenia Fonseca Sosa2,  
1 Department of General Surgery, Celia Sánchez Manduley Hospital, Manzanillo, Granma, Cuba
2 Department of Oncology, Conrado BenÍtez Hospital, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fernando Karel Fonseca Sosa
Esperanza Street #73 Between Guadalupe and San Javier, Manzanillo, Granma, Postal Code 87510

How to cite this article:
Fonseca Sosa FK, Fonseca Sosa K. Burnout syndrome in doctors in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.Indian J Med Spec 2022;13:69-70

How to cite this URL:
Fonseca Sosa FK, Fonseca Sosa K. Burnout syndrome in doctors in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Med Spec [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 15 ];13:69-70
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

Burnout syndrome (BS) was defined by Maslach and Jackson as a three-dimensional syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment.[1],[2]

This syndrome is reaching epidemic levels in the medical population, with prevalence reported around or over 50%. Burnout develops in response to chronic interpersonal stressors and is more likely in the absence of appropriate support from health-care organizations and managers.[3]

The coronavirus epidemic broke out in Wuhan, China, in a metropolis of 11 million people in December 2019, becoming soon a pandemic that affected almost all countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to numerous cases of depression and anxiety, as well as worsening preexisting mental illnesses.[4]

A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out between July and August 2021, which included 111 doctors from the hospital in COVID-19 context. The prevalence of burnout as a three-dimensional syndrome was determined through the Maslach Burnout Inventory,[5] and the sociodemographic and occupational characteristics of the affected doctors were described using a questionnaire. Burnout was considered as fulfilling one of the three criteria: an elevated level of emotional exhaustion (≥27), and/or a high score for depersonalization (≥10), and/or a low personal accomplishment score (≤33). SPSS® Statistics (version 24.0; SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) was used in the analyses. The investigation was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the hospital.

Of the 111 participants in the study, 61 presented burnout with a prevalence of 55%. When analyzing the three dimensions of this syndrome, 100% presented an elevated level of emotional exhaustion, 32.8% high score for depersonalization, and 14.8% low personal accomplishment score. The results of the sociodemographic and occupational characteristics of the participants are presented in [Table 1].{Table 1}

All physicians with burnout reported insecurity and fear of COVID-19, experience of vulnerability and defenselessness in the face of COVID-19, and experience of current job dissatisfaction. As an argument for these responses, most of the affected physicians reported scarce means of protection provided by the medical institution, as well as failures in the organizational system of the hospital center due to the complexity of its operation and the limitations of its own resources.

On the other hand, the prolonged use of personal protective equipment without air conditioning, the longer time without feeding and hydrating, the time used for the technique of dressing and undressing with the protective equipment, and the modification of work shifts and hours increased fatigue and job stress. In addition, the use of facial protection equipment led to a depersonalization of activity, both in contact with patients and with medical personnel.

In conclusion, there is a high prevalence of BS in doctors in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Those most affected by Burnout were young residents of internal medicine, of sex male, married and with children.

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Conflicts of interest

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