COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented crisis with extreme distress for the frontline physicians and increased risk of developing burnout. Burnout has a negative impact on patients and physicians, posing a substantial risk in patient safety, quality of care and physicians’ overall wellbeing. We evaluated burnout prevalence and possible predisposing factors among anaesthesiologists in the COVID-19 referral university/tertiary hospitals in Greece. In this multicenter, cross-sectional study we have included anaesthesiologists, involved in the care of patients with COVID-19, during the fourth peak of the pandemic (11/2021), in the 7 referral hospitals in Greece. The validated Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) were used. The response rate was 98% (116/118). More than half of the respondents were females (67.83%, median age 46 years). The overall Cronbach's alpha for MBI and EPQ was 0.894 and 0.877, respectively. The majority (67.24%) of anaesthesiologists were assessed as “high risk for burnout” and 21.55% were diagnosed with burnout syndrome. Almost half participants experienced high levels of all three dimensions of burnout; high emotional exhaustion (46.09%), high depersonalization (49.57%) and high levels of low personal accomplishment (43.49%). Multivariate logistic analysis revealed that neuroticism was an independent factor predicting “high risk for burnout” as well as burnout syndrome, whereas the “Lie scale” of EPQ exhibited a protective effect against burnout. Burnout prevalence in Greek anaesthesiologists working in COVID-19 referral hospitals during the fourth peak of the pandemic was high. Neuroticism was predictive of both “high risk for burnout” and “burnout syndrome”.

Trial registration: Observational, cross-sectional study with no interventions so trial not registered.

KEYWORDS: Burnout*Professional, COVID-19, pandemics, patient safety.

Maria P. Ntalouka, Agathi Karakosta, Diamanto Aretha, Alexandra Papaioannou, Vasileia Nyktari, Pelagia Chloropoulou, Eleni Koraki, Efstathia Pistioli, Paraskevi K. Matsota, Petros Tzimas, Eleni M. Arnaoutoglou


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