To determine the prevalence of and risk factors for burnout among critical care medicine physician assistants.Design:
Critical care medicine physician assistant members of the Society of Critical Care Medicine coupled with personal contacts.Interventions:
None.Measurements and Main Results:
We used SurveyMonkey to query critical care medicine physician assistants on demographics and the full 22-question Maslach Burnout Inventory, a validated tool comprised of three subscales—emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and achievement. Multivariate regression was performed to identify factors independently associated with severe burnout on at least one subscale and higher burnout scores on each subscale and the total inventory. From 431 critical care medicine physician assistants invited, 135 (31.3%) responded to the survey. Severe burnout was seen on at least one subscale in 55.6%—10% showed evidence of severe burnout on the “exhaustion” subscale, 44% on the “depersonalization” subscale, and 26% on the “achievement” subscale. After multivariable adjustment, caring for fewer patients per shift (odds ratio [95% CI]: 0.17 [0.05–0.57] for 1–5 vs 6–10 patients; p = 0.004) and rarely providing futile care (0.26 [0.07–0.95] vs providing futile care often; p = 0.041) were independently associated with having less severe burnout on at least one subscale. Those caring for 1–5 patients per shift and those providing futile care rarely also had a lower depersonalization scores; job satisfaction was independently associated with having less exhaustion, less depersonalization, a greater sense of personal achievement, and a lower overall burnout score.Conclusions:
Severe burnout is common in critical care medicine physician assistants. Higher patient-to-critical care medicine physician assistant ratios and provision of futile care are risk factors for severe burnout.