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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Aug 2020 - 28 Aug 2020


Human Studies

2020 Aug 17


The prevalence and predictors of burnout symptoms in multidisciplinary pain clinics: a mixed-methods study.


Ashton-James CE, McNeilage AG, Avery NS, Robson LHE, Costa D
Pain. 2020 Aug 17.
PMID: 32826756.


Frequent exposure to patient distress is associated with higher prevalence of clinician distress and symptoms of burnout. Patients with chronic pain often present with high levels of emotional distress. The current study examined the prevalence of burnout symptoms among a multidisciplinary sample of pain clinicians in Australia, the relationship between clinician confidence managing emotions and symptoms of burnout, and clinicians' perspectives on sources of stress and wellbeing at work. One hundred and seventy-six clinicians from 58 multidisciplinary pain clinics across Australia completed a survey including the 22-item Maslach Burnout Inventory, a measure of clinician confidence managing patient emotions and their own emotions, and open-ended questions probing clinician perspectives on sources of stress and wellbeing at work. High levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation were reported by 21.6% and 14.2% of respondents, respectively. These burnout symptoms were predicted by clinician confidence managing their own emotions. Low levels of personal accomplishment were reported by 18.8% of respondents and were predicted by clinician confidence managing patients' emotions. Consistent with these quantitative findings, qualitative data revealed that emotionally challenging patient encounters were common sources of stress. Working with a multidisciplinary team and supportive relationships with colleagues were commonly reported sources of clinician wellbeing. The results of this study are discussed in light of previous reports of burnout in pain medicine physicians. Implications for clinician training in pain management and the prevention of burnout in pain clinicians are discussed.