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Beating Clinician Burnout

News  |  By Jennifer Thew RN  
   April 01, 2017

Because burnout is complex, the MBI does not give a single score that determines the overall intensity of burnout. Rather, each component is measured on a subscale that looks at the frequency of a person's experience ranging from every day to never. For example, "Working all day with people is really a strain for me," or "I feel I'm positively influencing other people's lives through my work."

"The burnout measure is designed only to really assess people's experience. It doesn't measure causes," says Maslach.

Though the MBI is widely used to assess burnout, she cautions against thinking of it as a diagnostic tool.

"We weren't saying burnout was a disease. We were saying clearly people in various kinds of places and occupations that we've been studying are going through an experience that is really difficult," she says. "They get depressed, they quit their job, they don't show up, but making it a disease puts it kind of within the individual. It says the individual really is responsible for taking care of this, and it basically ignores [the question of] what is the environment and situation in which this is happening."

Weiner, who has worked at the medical group since 1997, describes the MBI as an instrument to take an organization's vital signs.

"It takes the vitals, it gets the current state, and then you need to do the diagnostics," she explains. "You need to find out what is going on in your organization."

After using the MBI, Weiner uncovered that 58% of the medical group's physicians reported experiencing at least one component of burnout, and 10% of the physicians were experiencing all three components.

Morale at the organization was low. On a 2012 AMGA employee satisfaction survey, overall satisfaction among staff was at the 18th percentile.

Physician engagement was poor as well.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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