The Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic Impacts Burnout Syndrome Differently among Multiprofessional Critical Care Clinicians - A Longitudinal Survey Study

Vanessa Moll*, Heather Meissen, Sharon Pappas, Kejun Xu, Ramzy Rimawi, Timothy G. Buchman, Lisa Fisher, Vishal Bakshi, Mary Zellinger, Craig M. Coopersmith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To determine the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on burnout syndrome in the multiprofessional ICU team and to identify factors associated with burnout syndrome. DESIGN: Longitudinal, cross-sectional survey. SETTING: All adult ICUs within an academic health system. SUBJECTS: Critical care nurses, advanced practice providers, physicians, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, social workers, and spiritual health workers were surveyed on burnout in 2017 and during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in 2020. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Burnout syndrome and contributing factors were measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory of Health and Human Service and Areas of Worklife Survey. Response rates were 46.5% (572 respondents) in 2017 and 49.9% (710 respondents) in 2020. The prevalence of burnout increased from 59% to 69% (p < 0.001). Nurses were disproportionately impacted, with the highest increase during the pandemic (58-72%; p < 0.0001) with increases in emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, and personal achievement decreases. In contrast, although burnout was high before and during coronavirus disease 2019 in all specialties, most professions had similar or lower burnout in 2020 as they had in 2017. Physicians had the lowest rates of burnout, measured at 51% and 58%, respectively. There was no difference in burnout between clinicians working in ICUs who treated coronavirus disease 2019 than those who did not (71% vs 67%; p = 0.26). Burnout significantly increased in females (71% vs 60%; p = 0.001) and was higher than in males during the pandemic (71% vs 60%; p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Burnout syndrome was common in all multiprofessional ICU team members prior to and increased substantially during the pandemic, independent of whether one treated coronavirus disease 2019 patients. Nurses had the highest prevalence of burnout during coronavirus disease 2019 and had the highest increase in burnout from the prepandemic baseline. Female clinicians were significantly more impacted by burnout than males. Different susceptibility to burnout syndrome may require profession-specific interventions as well as work system improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-448
Number of pages9
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • burnout syndrome
  • clinician well-being
  • critical care
  • intensive care unit
  • multiprofessional
  • team


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