CDC recommends mental illness screeningBurnout is a global phenomenon that prevents healthcare professionals from delivering quality care. Exhaustion continues to emerge as the most robust indicator, but it is uncertain whether this is an outcome of self-report studies.

Research on burnout in healthcare tends to focus on nurses in hospital settings. Although nurse burnout is the primary focus of several of studies, there are factors that contribute to burnout among nurses, physicians and other health professionals, including technicians, administration and management officers, and other specialties. Adopting a detached attitude toward people at work is a maladaptive and risky strategy. One area of study is the analysis of negative gossip and burnout among doctors, nurses, and residents – a common occurrence in healthcare. Other research reveals a prevalence of adverse professional consequences associated with different components of the burnout syndrome, particularly in terms of personal and family deterioration, and the intention of giving up the profession.

What to do? One report suggests that authentic leadership plays a protective role against burnout by positively impacting work climate and increasing nurses’ psychological well-being.

Another suggestion is to close the circle of the healthcare professional and patient, and view their relationship as symbiotic. Burnout prevention can also include measuring burnout in a contextual way, not ignoring emotional detachment or negative gossip, protecting the families of healthcare professionals, and developing authentic leadership. Education is key. Build awareness among healthcare professionals of burnout risks. Also, analyze the systems that lead to burnout and consider alternatives.

Adapted from Burnout Research

Guest Editors: Dr. Heather Laschinger and Dr. Anthony Montgomery