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The Office of Well-being strategically with partners across the Medical Center to identify methods for preventing health care provider burnout, and to assist providers who may be experiencing it.

What is burnout?  

Burnout is defined in the International Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11) as follows:

“Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Burnout is not classified as a medical condition.

Three dimensions of burnout

  • Emotional exhaustion: Overwhelming work demands deplete the individual’s energy
  • Depersonalization and Cynicism: Individual detaches from the job
  • Feelings of Inefficacy: Individual perceives a lack of personal achievement

All can coexist in different degrees, making burnout a continuous, heterogeneous construct rather than a dichotomous one.

So why does it matter?

  • Impact on quality of life for health care professionals
  • Impact on family life
  • Increased turn-over for health care systems and people leaving health care altogether
  • Burnout scores correlate with lower quality health care and a higher rate of errors/patient safety events
  • Burnout will likely compromise the health care system in our lifetimes by contributing to provider shortages