Evaluating burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic among physicians in a large health system in New York

Vansha Singh, John Q. Young, Prashant Malhotra, Molly McCann-Pineo, Rehana Rasul, Samantha S. Corley, Andrew C. Yacht, Karen Friedman, Stephen Barone, Rebecca M. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has generated significant psychological distress among health care workers worldwide. New York State, particularly New York City and surrounding counties, were especially affected, and experienced over 430,000 COVID-19 cases and 25,000 deaths by mid-August 2020. We hypothesized that physicians and trainees (residents/fellows) who were redeployed outside of their specialty to treat COVID-19 inpatients would have higher burnout. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey to assess burnout among attending and trainee physicians who provided patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic between March-May 2020 across a diverse health care system in New York. Separate multivariable logistic regressions were performed to determine the association between redeployment and measures of burnout: Emotional Exhaustion (EE) and Depersonalization. Burnout measures were also compared by physician vs trainee status. The differential association between redeployment and outcomes with respect to trainee status was also evaluated. Results: Redeployment was significantly associated with increased odds of EE {OR =1.53, 95% CI: 1.01–2.31} after adjusting for gender and Epidemic-Pandemic Impacts Inventory (EPII) score. Similarly, being a trainee, especially a junior level trainee, was associated with increased odds of EE {OR = 1.59, 95% CI: 1.01–2.51} after adjusting for gender and EPII scores. However, neither redeployment nor trainee status were significantly associated with Depersonalization. Interactions between redeployment and trainee status were not significant for any of the outcomes (p>.05). Conclusion: Physicians who were redeployed to treat COVID–19 patients had higher reported measures of EE. Trainees, irrespective of redeployment status, had higher EE as compared with attendings. Additional research is needed to understand the long-term impact of redeployment on burnout among redeployed physicians. Programs to identify and address potential burnout among physicians, particularly trainees, during pandemics may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-827
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Environmental and Occupational Health
Volume77
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Burnout
  • COVID-19
  • mental health
  • physicians
  • redeployment
  • residents
  • trainees

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