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Burnout Survey Guide

Burnout Image Cover

For most of us, this is a time of extraordinary struggle and upheaval. Health care is changing rapidly, creating stress and, ultimately, burnout for health care professionals, at all levels and across functions. The pandemic has sped up the problem. At Cook Children’s, we truly care about you and your teams, and we are determined to prevent and address burnout.

What exactly is burnout?  The World Health Organization defines burnout as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by:

  • Feelings of low energy or exhaustion
  • Feelings of detachment, negativism or cynicism related to one's job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

Burnout does not refer to experiences in other areas of life, only in your work life.

What are we going to do about it?  We’re conducting a system-wide burnout assessment survey to learn about our exposure to burnout, and identify potential workplace burnout triggers. The survey will: 

  • Explore individual perceptions of work-related stressors
  • Identify key areas of strength or weakness in the workplace that may cause and/or trigger burnout
  • Build data-driven solutions to prevent and address burnout at both individual and organizational level

How are we going to do it?  We will use the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) & Areas of Worklife Survey (AWS) – the gold standard for measuring burnout. Each individual will be invited via email to complete an assessment in April that will measure:

  • Exhaustion - feelings of being overextended and exhausted by one's work.
  • Depersonalization or Cynicism -indifference or a distant attitude toward your work and/or patients
  • Professional Accomplishment/Efficacy - satisfaction with past and present accomplishments, assesses an individual's expectations of continued effectiveness at work

What about the results?  Each person will receive their individualized report in their email shortly after completing the online survey. Nobody else will receive the individual report. Cook Children’s is highly committed to preserving confidentiality in all aspects of this data collection process. Leaders will receive a de-identified area summary and aggregated data will be used to develop strategies to address burnout.

What is my role as a leader?  Here is what you can do:

•        Keep your team informed before, during and after the survey;

•        Educate yourself and your team on burnout;

•        Stimulate survey participation; and

•        Most importantly, you want to foster and promote a stigma free environment of acceptance, empathetic understanding, kindness, and respect toward all individuals. This helps individuals to feel seen, heard, valued and safe.