by Giovanni Di Liberto
Burnout is a common issue among healthcare providers, including neurology residents and research fellows. It is characterised by overwhelming fatigue, emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment from work, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of personal accomplishment. Burnout can have serious consequences for both patients and healthcare providers, including increased risk of medical errors, conflicts, absenteeism, poor social interactions, and even depression and suicide.
In a recent study (G. Di Liberto, G. Baldizzi, Neurology Education 2022) of European neurology residents, junior neurologists, and research fellows, it was found that 73.9% of respondents showed perturbation in the Maslach Burnout Inventory dimensions, indicating a dysfunctional phenotype within the burnout spectrum. Multivariate logistic regression analysis found that elevated number of night shifts per month, work-related fatigue, and low professional satisfaction were independent risk factors for burnout. On the other hand, being a certified neurologist, working in an academic environment, and having higher job satisfaction were associated with the engaged profile, a productive state characterised by high energy, strong involvement, and a sense of efficacy.
These findings highlight the importance of addressing burnout among neurology residents and research fellows in order to improve their well-being and the quality of care they are able to provide. Strategies to mitigate burnout may include increasing support for residents and fellows, improving work environments, and addressing factors that contribute to burnout, such as high workload and fatigue. It is also important to recognise the value of the engaged profile and to foster a positive work environment that promotes productivity and well-being.