The purpose of the article’s authors was to provide an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon of burnout from the words and opinions of hospital workers. This understanding would make it possible to control interventions in the future to inform employees about potential risks. Hospitals would change at the organizational and system levels, and leaders would change investment management to help their employees avoid burnout or reduce the impact of burnout on patient care. To achieve this purpose, the authors interviewed primary care physicians and asked them a series of questions about burnout and workplace motivation. They also asked how, in their opinion, it is possible to solve the issue of burnout.
For three months (from February to March 2018), 26 attending physicians, paramedics, and nurse practitioners were interviewed. They were divided into focus groups for easy discussion. Participation in conferences to discuss issues was provided online and in person; the interviewed workers did not receive compensation. The authors developed questions about burnout factors, motivation problems, and the realization of their ambitions at work. The authors also touched on medical culture, support for colleagues, and the balance between personal life and work. Together with medical professionals, the authors described the problem of burnout and then tried to find solutions.
The sample consisted of 26 professionals: 21 physicians, three nurse practitioners, and two paramedics (Agarwal et al., 2020). Women made up more than 80% of the sample, 21 people. All experts took part in at least one of the four discussions or one of the two interviews in total. The authors of the considered article selected experienced workers for the sample, their experience in the medical field was, on average, more than 19 years.
Data Collection Methods
Recordings were primarily used to collect data during conferences and sessions. The observer managed the recording during the session, and the encoders encrypted the recordings by topic and subtopic. The sessions were semi-structured, and the observer terminated them if he considered that the group of workers had reached saturation for content analysis. The authors also used Microsoft Word and Excel to store and manage the data.
Interviewed professionals indicated a severe discrepancy between their professional values and the organizations and systems they work; it creates dissonance. Workers also colorfully describe the enormous amount of work they face every day. All participants noted that the paperwork exceeds the amount of direct doctoral work, which demotivates them. They felt that they had received their education in medicine in vain; they did not have the skill to complete paperwork quickly; burnout is associated with these aspects.
Strengths and Limitations
The strength of this study is the selection of interviewed physicians who worked explicitly in primary health care. Doctors in this department are often faced with severe cases requiring urgent intervention (de Hert, 2020). A limitation of the study is the complete disregard for gender in the perception of burnout in the workplace. The study reveals no difference between how men and women deal with dissonance and burnout. Moreover, the sample consists of 21 women out of 26 specialists in total, which indicates the neglect of men.
Although recording interviews is time-consuming, the results provide a vivid picture of the problems. These problems can be supported by quotes from workers and their specific examples. The study recommends talking to psychologists or other doctors in just such a discussion because it can help quickly identify problems in the team of doctors (Seda-Gombau et al., 2021). This method is much brighter than the questionnaire method, where doctors, even if they do not spend their free time on discussions, are limited only by the field for answering a specific short question.
Agarwal, S. D., Pabo, E., Rozenblum, R., & Sherritt, K. M. (2020). Professional dissonance and burnout in primary care. JAMA Internal Medicine, 180(3). Web.
de Hert, S. (2020). Burnout in healthcare workers: Prevalence, impact and preventative strategies. Local and Regional Anesthesia, 13, 171–183. Web.
Seda-Gombau, G., Montero-Alía, J. J., Moreno-Gabriel, E., & Torán-Monserrat, P. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on burnout in primary care physicians in Catalonia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(17). Web.