1Tamworth Hospital, North Tamworth, Australia

Background: Burnout amongst health care workers and physicians is an increasingly recognised issue. It has impacts on clinicians personal and job satisfaction, health and stress levels as well as healthcare delivery to patients.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of physician burnout amongst nephrologists and nephrology trainees.
Methods: The standardised and validated burnout measurement tool through the Maslach Burnout Inventory – Human Services Survey for Medical Personnel (MBI-HSS MP) was used to determine the rates of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and personal accomplishment amongst nephrologists and nephrology trainees in Australia. Demographic information was collected and participants were invited to complete the online survey via email.
Results: Forty-six nephrologists and nephrology trainees responded to the survey. 87% of respondents were nephrologists with 54% of respondents in metropolitan, 9% in outer metropolitan and 37% in regional locations. High levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation were reported in 26% and 28% of participants respectively. Low levels of personal accomplishment were reported in 20% of respondents. The overall level of burnout in the participants was 21%. Trainees reported higher levels of burnout at 33%. Burnout was more prevalent in outer metropolitan practice at 50% compared to metropolitan (20%) and regional practice (17%). Male respondents also reported higher rates of burnout at 30% compared to female practitioners at 6%. Younger nephrologists and trainees reported higher rates of burnout.
Conclusion: Physician burnout remains a prevalent issue, particularly amongst younger nephrologists, trainees and practitioners in outer metropolitan settings. The rates of burnout reported remain similar to levels amongst other physicians in the literature. Addressing the factors affecting burnout in the groups at risk will be vital in reducing its impact in the future.

Dr Viduranga Wijeratne is a Renal Advanced Trainee in Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital. He completed his BMed MD at UNSW and his basic physicians training at Concord Repatriation General Hospital.

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