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Burnout Symptoms Common for Neonatal Health Care Workers

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 -- Two-thirds of maternal and neonatal health care workers (HCWs) report symptoms of burnout, and almost three-quarters feel that burnout has increased among their coworkers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online March 16 in the Journal of Perinatology.

Eman Haidari, M.D., from Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues administered an anonymous survey to maternal and neonatal HCWs to assess well-being, burnout, and patient safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Results were analyzed according to job position and burnout status.

The researchers analyzed 288 fully completed surveys. Overall, 66 percent of respondents reported burnout symptoms and 73 percent felt that burnout had increased significantly among their coworkers. Thirty-four percent of respondents judged that workplace strategies to address HCW well-being were sufficient. Significantly worse well-being and patient safety attributes were reported by HCWs who were "burned out." Nurses reported higher rates of unprofessional behavior (37 versus 14 percent) and difficulty focusing on work (59 versus 36 percent) compared with physicians.

"We know from existing research that burnout has detrimental consequences for patients, for health care providers' personal lives, and for the organizations that employ these professionals," a coauthor said in a statement. "Because of that, seeing a steep rise in burnout is concerning for everyone. This really is like the canary in the coal mine, telling us that there will be a wave of these problems coming and we need to get ready to help."

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