Compassion fatigue (CF) is distress experienced by caregivers from ongoing contact with patients who are suffering. Burnout (BO) is occupational stress directly related to dissonance between job demands and available resources. Compassion satisfaction (CS) is professional fulfillment experienced through helping others. CF in physicians is not well studied. Neonatologists may be at particular risk for CF by virtue of recurrent exposure to distress in patients and their families. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of CF, BO and CS, and to identify potential predictors for these phenomena in neonatologists.STUDY DESIGN:
A modified Compassion Fatigue and Satisfaction Self-Test and a questionnaire of professional details and personal characteristics were distributed electronically to neonatologists nationally. Multivariable logistic and linear regression models for CF, BO and CS as a function of potential predictors were constructed.RESULTS:
The survey response rate was 47%. The prevalence of CF, BO and CS was 15.7, 20.8 and 21.9%, respectively. Female gender, emotional depletion, distress from ‘a clinical situation', ‘co-workers', ‘personal health issues' and ‘not talking about distressing issues' were each significant determinants of CF. Emotional depletion, distress from the ‘physical work environment' and ‘co-workers', and ‘not talking about distressing issues' were significant determinants of BO. Self-identification as Hispanic; ‘not currently feeling distressed'; talking about distressing issues; and utilization of pediatric palliative care services were significant determinants of higher CS.CONCLUSIONS:
CF and BO may impact emotional well-being and professional performance of neonatologists. Enhancement of CS is a potential target for intervention.