A Brief Instrument to Assess Both Burnout and Professional Fulfillment in Physicians: Reliability and Validity, Including Correlation with Self-Reported Medical Errors, in a Sample of Resident and Practicing Physicians

Acad Psychiatry. 2018 Feb;42(1):11-24. doi: 10.1007/s40596-017-0849-3. Epub 2017 Dec 1.

Abstract

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of the Professional Fulfillment Index (PFI), a 16-item instrument to assess physicians' professional fulfillment and burnout, designed for sensitivity to change attributable to interventions or other factors affecting physician well-being.

Methods: A sample of 250 physicians completed the PFI, a measure of self-reported medical errors, and previously validated measures including the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), a one-item burnout measure, the World Health Organization's abbreviated quality of life assessment (WHOQOL-BREF), and PROMIS short-form depression, anxiety, and sleep-related impairment scales. Between 2 and 3 weeks later, 227 (91%) repeated the PFI and the sleep-related impairment scale.

Results: Principal components analysis justified PFI subscales for professional fulfillment, work exhaustion, and interpersonal disengagement. Test-retest reliability estimates were 0.82 for professional fulfillment (α = 0.91), 0.80 for work exhaustion (α = 0.86), 0.71 for interpersonal disengagement (α = 0.92), and 0.80 for overall burnout (α = 0.92). PFI burnout measures correlated highly (r ≥ 0.50) with their closest related MBI equivalents. Cohen's d effect size differences in self-reported medical errors for high versus low burnout classified using the PFI and the MBI were 0.55 and 0.44, respectively. PFI scales correlated in expected directions with sleep-related impairment, depression, anxiety, and WHOQOL-BREF scores. PFI scales demonstrated sufficient sensitivity to detect expected effects of a two-point (range 8-40) change in sleep-related impairment.

Conclusions: PFI scales have good performance characteristics including sensitivity to change and offer a novel contribution by assessing professional fulfillment in addition to burnout.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Medical Errors*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grant support