Compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction in pediatric subspecialists during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Samuel M. Kase, Jeanie L. Gribben, Katherine F. Guttmann, Elisha D. Waldman, Andrea S. Weintraub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: The aim of this study was to explore factors contributing to compassion fatigue (CF), burnout (BO), and compassion satisfaction (CS) during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 pandemic in pediatric subspecialists. Methods: The Compassion Fatigue and Satisfaction Self-Test (CFST) and a questionnaire of personal/professional characteristics were distributed electronically to pediatric subspecialists. Results: There were no significant differences in pre- and early-pandemic CF, BO, and CS scores. Nearly 40% of respondents felt their contributions to the pandemic were not valued by their institutions. Higher CF scores were significantly associated with: higher BO score; “I have put myself at increased risk through my work”; working in one’s specialty >50% of time; distress about mental health and/or future uncertainty. Higher BO scores were significantly associated with: higher CF score; “Self-care is not a priority”; emotional depletion. Higher CS scores were significantly associated with: “My institution values my contribution to the COVID-19 crisis”; workplace debriefs; pet therapy. Conclusions: The pandemic has only increased the need for physicians to receive social/emotional support from their institution and to feel their workplace contributions are valued. Successful pre-pandemic workplace interventions may not adequately support physicians during the pandemic. Further study is needed to identify supports that best counter the pandemic’s unprecedented challenges. Impact: The sentiment “My institution has valued my contribution to the Covid-19 crisis” was the only significant factor associated with lower BO scores and was also associated with higher CS scores in pediatric subspecialists.This study is the first comparison of pre- and early-pandemic CF, BO, and CS scores in a national cohort of pediatric subspecialists.When considering interventions to promote CS and mitigate CF and BO for pediatric subspecialists during and after the pandemic, institutional leadership must offer wellness programming focused on social/emotional supports and prioritize a culture that explicitly recognizes and values every physician’s contributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


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