Role of a pediatric department chair: factors leading to satisfaction and burnout

J Pediatr. 2007 Oct;151(4):425-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.03.016. Epub 2007 Jun 22.


Objective: To determine factors associated with satisfaction and burnout in pediatric department chairs.

Study design: A 1-time online survey of 250 current and former pediatric chairs who were members of Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs anytime between 1993 and 2005. The questionnaire included demographics, satisfaction levels, stress experienced, and time spent on various work activities. We also included the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey and the abbreviated Workplace Climate Questionnaire. Burnout was defined as high scores on the depersonalization or emotional exhaustion subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey.

Results: Our response rate was 62%; most chairs (65%) reported being very satisfied with their job. Approximately 30% of chairs for <5 years experienced burnout, compared with 15% of chairs who held their positions for >5 years (P < .05). Factors associated with burnout included years as chair (odds ratio [OR], 0.9; 95% CI, 0.80-0.99), >1 night worked per week (OR, 5.9; 95% CI, 1.5-22.9), high workload (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.3-6.7), and lack of supportive work environment (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.2).

Conclusion: Steps should be taken to decrease burnout in chairs, including policies that promote physician well being as integral to successful departments.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Faculty*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Physician Executives*
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • United States
  • Workload