Dr. Abernethy Discusses Burnout in Palliative Care Clinicians

June 4, 2014
Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD

Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, associate professor, School of Nursing, director, Duke Center for Learning Health Care, Duke University School of Medicine, discusses a survey that evaluated burnout among palliative care clinicians in the United States.

Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, associate professor, School of Nursing, director, Duke Center for Learning Health Care, Duke University School of Medicine, discusses a survey that evaluated burnout among palliative care clinicians in the United States.

Abernethy says burnout is often categorized into three key areas: emotional exhaustion, de-personalization or cynicism, and a sense of loss of professional fulfillment. The survey showed high levels of emotional exhaustion is prevalent at rates of almost 60% in the hospice and palliative medicine workforce. This was inclusive of physician and non-physician professionals, Abernethy says.

The study also showed that 25% of healthcare professionals experienced de-personalization in both groups. Abernethy says when combining the group of high emotional exhaustion and de-personalization, the rate is 60-70%.

To put this information into context, it has been recorded that about 50% of emergency medical professionals experience burnout.