Burnout and perceived quality of care among German clinicians in surgery

Int J Qual Health Care. 2010 Dec;22(6):525-30. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzq056. Epub 2010 Oct 8.


Objective: Burnout is highly prevalent among clinicians but there is not much known about the association between burnout and quality of care. In this paper, burnout, perceived quality of care and medical errors among German clinicians in surgery are explored.

Design: Data were collected during 2008 by a cross-sectional, standardized mail survey.

Participants: and

Setting: A total of 1311 clinicians in surgery in 489 German hospitals. Measure(s) Burnout was measured by using the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI). The measurement of self-rated patient care was based on a 13 item instrument (Chirurgisches Qualitätssiegel) and two questions assessing the frequency of medical errors.

Results: About 48.7% of the clinicians meet the criteria for burnout according to the CBI. Moreover, in multivariate logistic regression analyses, burnout is significantly associated with perceived quality of care among male (odds ratios vary from 1.5 to 2.6) but not among female surgeons (odds ratios vary from 1.3 to 1.5).

Conclusions: The high prevalence of burnout in our study corresponds with former studies of burnout among physicians. Furthermore, the results of the study suggest a relationship between burnout and perceived quality of care among men. Thus, reducing burnout among surgeons could not only improve their health and well-being but also the quality of care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • General Surgery* / standards
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Gynecology / standards
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Perception
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Sex Factors
  • Workforce