Risk of burnout in perioperative clinicians: a survey study and literature review

Anesthesiology. 2011 Jan;114(1):194-204. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e318201ce9a.


Background: Burnout can lead to health and psychologic problems and is apparently increasing in physicians and nurses. Previous studies have not evaluated all healthcare workers within a single work unit. This study evaluates the risk of burnout in all medical personnel in one perioperative unit.

Methods: We developed an online survey that included demographics, a modified version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey, and the Social Support and Personal Coping Survey. Survey constructs (e.g., depersonalization and health) and a global score were calculated. Larger construct and global values were associated with higher risk of burnout. These were separately regressed on role, age, and sex. The global score was then regressed on each of the survey constructs.

Results: Of the 145 responses, 46.2% were physicians (22.8% residents), 43.4% were nurses or nurse anesthetists, and 10.3% were other personnel. After adjusting for sex and age, residents scored higher than other physicians on the following (expected change [95% confidence interval]): global score (1.12 [0.43-1.82]), emotional exhaustion (1.54 [0.44-2.60]), and depersonalization (1.09 [0.23-1.95]). Compared with nonphysicians, residents were 1 U or more higher on these items (P < 0.05 in all cases). Residents had higher health (1.49 [0.48-2.50]) and workload (1.23 [0.07-2.40]) values compared with physicians. Better health, personal support, and work satisfaction scores were related to decreased global scores (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Physicians (particularly residents) had the largest global burnout scores, implying increased risk of burnout. Improving overall health, increasing personal support, and improving work satisfaction may decrease burnout among perioperative team members.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Age Distribution
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Anesthetists / psychology
  • Nurse Anesthetists / statistics & numerical data
  • Nurses / psychology
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data
  • Perioperative Care / psychology*
  • Perioperative Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data