Burnout in a surgical ICU team

Intensive Care Med. 2008 Jan;34(1):152-6. doi: 10.1007/s00134-007-0907-5. Epub 2007 Oct 18.


Objective: Psychologically stressful situations, a physically demanding workload and a high requirement for technological skills can lead ICU caregivers to burnout. The aim of our study was to evaluate their level of burnout as well as the related factors.

Design: A self-administered anonymous questionnaire.

Setting: A 20-bed surgical ICU in a university hospital.

Patients and participants: Nurse assistants, nurses.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and results: Ninety-seven of 107 questionnaires (91%) were returned. Of the members of ICU nursing team, 28% showed a high level of burnout. They reported a number of concerns, and that they felt discomfort and suffering. There was a discrepancy between the factors felt to be important by them and those statistically related to the burnout. Among the reported concerns, only the lack of patients' co-operation, the organization of the service and the rapid patient turnover were independently associated with a high level of burnout. As many as 49% of the nursing team felt stressed.

Conclusions: Almost a third of the ICU nursing team showed a high level of burnout. The factors felt to be important may not be those related to burnout. Since the well-being of the nursing team is important for the quality of care, corrective actions against the related factors should be sought in order to alleviate the suffering.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Critical Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce