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Burnout and Sources of Stress Among Health Care Risk Managers and Patient Safety Personnel During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Pilot Study.


This study investigates burnout and sources of stress related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic among a group of health care risk managers/patient safety practitioners.

An online survey was used, including the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and 1 open-ended question: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, what work or non-work-related issues have been causing you the most stress?

A total of 31 participants completed the OLBI; 27 answered the open-ended question. Over 70% of participants qualified as burned out. A thematic analysis was used to analyze stressors. Key themes included impacts of social distancing, changing duties and workload, real and potential impacts of the virus (eg, fear of infection for self or others), and financial concerns (personal and organizational). Less common themes included untrustworthy and constantly changing guidance, feeling abused by persons in power, and positive comments about the experience of working during the pandemic.

Burnout and pandemic-related stress may be very common in the health care risk management and patient safety workforce. Additional research is required to more robustly estimate the prevalence of burnout in this population. Meanwhile, the sources of stress identified here may aid health care organizations in taking immediate action to protect this vital workforce.

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