Infectious Disease

Pulmonary and critical care medicine program directors, fellows facing ‘daunting’ levels of stress

Source/Disclosures

sources:

Matta A, et al. 1013 – Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Burnout in Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Training. Presented at: American Thoracic Society International Conference; May 13-18, 2022; San Francisco (hybrid meeting).

Disclosures:
The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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SAN FRANCISCO — A survey of pulmonary and critical care medicine program directors and fellows in the US highlighted high levels of stress and burnout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pulmonary and critical care medicine training programs across the country are facing daunting levels of stress and burnout among the fellows and the program directors,” Atul Matta, MD, chief pulmonary critical care fellow in the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center, and colleagues reported in a poster presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference.

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At the ATS meeting, Matta told Healio: “High prevalence of burnout among PCCM trainees has been well established. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that has increased and there is an increasing the amount of stress in trainees as well as in the program directors.”

Matta and colleagues conducted an anonymous survey of pulmonary and critical care medicine (PCCM) program directors and fellows in the US to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training and burnout.

Sixty-nine PCCM program directors completed the survey, 71.6% said they regularly assessed burnout among PCCM fellows. Nearly 46% of program directors reported using an established tool to assess burnout in fellows, while 54.2% reported using other means, such as semiannual evaluations or frequent individual check-ins.

Forty-eight percent of program directors reported an increase in burnout among their fellows and 45.8% reported no change in burnout levels during the pandemic.

Sixty-five of the 69 program directors responded to a survey question regarding program director burnout, with 20% reporting that they enjoyed their work and had no burnout symptoms. However, 48% reported symptoms of stress and 32% reported varying degrees of burnout.

Among 112 PCCM fellows who responded to the survey, equally representing each of the three years of training, 24% reported enjoying their work without burnout symptoms, 47% reported feeling stress and 29% reported varying degrees of burnout.

“We need to focus on physician well-being and come up with standardized assessment tools to better assess burnout, and then do further studies to study this at a larger level among the fellows and the PDs,” Matta told Healio.

References:

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American Thoracic Society International Conference

American Thoracic Society International Conference

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