812 The cost of being ‘with women’: the impact of traumatic perinatal events on burnout rates among midwives

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IntroductionBurnout is common among healthcare workers with significant implications for caregivers and their patients. This study aims to establish the incidence of burnout among midwives and to investigate the extent to which exposure to traumatic perinatal events in work contribute to this.MethodsA cross-sectional study was carried out in a tertiary maternity hospital between March and May 2014. Anonymous voluntary questionnaires were circulated to all 248 clinical midwives. Demographic details, frequency and types of traumatic perinatal events encountered were recorded. The extent of distress experienced was documented on two visual analogue read in combinations to reflect the impact of the event and the resulting distress. Burnout was assessed using the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory which assesses the extent of burnout under three domains; personal, work-related and patient-related burnout. Each domain is scored on a scale of 0–100, with a score of ≥50 considered to be indicative of significant burnout.ResultThe response rate achieved was 55% (n=137). The mean scores for personal, work-related and patient-related burnout were 56.0, 55.9 and 34.3 respectively. Over 90% of respondents experienced a traumatic event in work in the previous year, with 58% reporting a frequency of monthly or greater for such events. The extent of distress reported by midwives was positively related to burnout (R2=0.16, R2=0.15, R2=0.08 respectively, p<0.01). A modest negative linear relationship exists between personal and work-related burnout scores and increasing age (ρ=−0.25 and −0.27, p<0.01). Midwives with less midwifery experience (<10 years) had higher burnout scores than their more experienced colleagues (>10 years).DiscussionThis is the first Irish study investigating midwives’ experiences of burnout and possible contributory workplace factors. Midwifery profession demand a high degree of empathy. Our principal results highlight the significant effects of personal responses to distressing work events. Further research looking at workplace supports is recommended.

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