Canadian emergency medicine physician burnout: a survey of Canadian emergency physicians during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
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ObjectivesA previous survey of Canadian emergency medicine (EM) physicians during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic documented less than 20% experienced high levels of burnout. This study examined the experience of a similar group of physicians during the second pandemic wave. We reported the associations between burnout and physician age, gender, having children at home and training route.
MethodsThis study utilized a national survey of Canadian emergency physicians. We collected data on demographics and measured burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Multiple logistic regression models identified associations between the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization domains of the MBI and EM physician demographics (age, gender, children living at home, and training route).
ResultsBetween November 25, 2020, and February 4, 2021, 416 emergency physicians completed the survey, representing all Provinces or Territories in Canada (except Nunavut). The mean participant age was 44, 53% were male, 64% had children living at home and 41% were FRCPC and 41% CCFP-EM trained. Sixty percent reported high burnout (either high emotional exhaustion and/or high depersonalization). Increasing age was associated with lower emotional exhaustion and depersonalization; female or nonbinary gender was associated with an increase in emotional exhaustion; and having children living at home was associated with lower depersonalization.
ConclusionsMost Canadian emergency physicians participating in our study during the COVID-19 pandemic reported high burnout levels. Younger physicians and female physicians were more likely than their coworkers to report high burnout levels. Hospitals should address emergency physician burnout during the pandemic because it is a threat to quality of patient care and retention of the workforce for the future.
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