A study of burnout amongst doctors at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia
Background: Stress among health care workers is a subject that has received much attention worldwide. However, there have been few studies that address the issue of work-related stress among health care workers in Africa and in Zambia in particular. There was an urgent need to study burnout at the University Teaching Hospital in order to have concrete evidence for planning and policy purposes in order to help address some of the human resource for health problems in Zambia. This study sought to measure the levels of work-related burnout among doctors at the University Teaching Hospital and to investigate associated factors.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Data was collected by means of a self-administered survey using Maslach Burnout Inventory provided by mindgarden.com. Data analysis was done using guidelines as set out in the Maslach Burnout Inventory manual using Epi-info software. Cross tabulations and chi-square and statistical analysis tests were done in order to establish whether there were any statistically significant associations between levels of burnout and other variables such as sex, age, seniority, department and marital status, among others.
Results: More than half, 54.4.%, of doctors studied at the University Teaching Hospital experienced average or high levels of emotional exhaustion with 44.8% experiencing average or high levels of depersonalisation and 66.4% experiencing average or low levels of personal accomplishment. Personal accomplishment was the subscale with the highest indication of burnout, followed by emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation. There were no significant associations between demographic and individual work factors studied and burnout levels.
Conclusions: Burnout levels are significant at the University Teaching Hospital. There were no significant associations between demographic and individual work factors studied and burnout levels. This study has highlighted that burnout is a problem that needs to be addressed at the hospital and further investigation is required to assess what factors may be contributing to it, particularly those related to the work environment, since personal and demographic characteristics did not show any associations to burnout.
Keywords: Maslach burnout Inventory, burnout, stress at work, depersonalisation, emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment, Doctors and burnout, human resources for health, university teaching hospital