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Team and leadership factors and their relationship to burnout in emergency medicine during COVID-19: A 3-wave cross-sectional study.



We examined the relationship of team and leadership attributes with clinician feelings of burnout over time during the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


We surveyed emergency medicine personnel at 2 California hospitals at 3 time points: July 2020, December 2020, and November 2021. We assessed 3 team and leadership attributes using previously validated psychological scales (joint problem-solving, process clarity, and leader inclusiveness) and burnout using a validated scale. Using logistic regression models we determined the associations between team and leadership attributes and burnout, controlling for covariates.


We obtained responses from 328, 356, and 260 respondents in waves 1, 2, and 3, respectively (mean response rate = 49.52%). The median response for feelings of burnout increased over time (2.0, interquartile range [IQR] = 2.0-3.0 in wave 1 to 3.0, IQR = 2.0-3.0 in wave 3). At all time points, greater process clarity was associated with lower odds of feeling burnout (odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.36 [0.19, 0.66] in wave 1 to 0.24 [0.10, 0.61] in wave 3). In waves 2 and 3, greater joint problem-solving was associated with lower odds of feeling burnout (OR [95% CI] = 0.61 [0.42, 0.89], 0.54 [0.33, 0.88]). Leader inclusiveness was also associated with lower odds of feeling burnout (OR [95% CI] = 0.45 [0.27, 0.74] in wave 1 to 0.41 [0.24, 0.69] in wave 3).


Process clarity, joint problem-solving, and leader inclusiveness are associated with less clinician burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to potential benefits of focusing on team and leadership factors during crisis. Leader inclusiveness may wane over time, requiring effort to sustain.

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