Burnout syndrome in pediatric urology: A perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic – Ibero-American survey

Johanna Ovalle Diaz 1Antonio Rebello Horta Gorgen 2Aline Gularte Teixeira da Silva 2Artur de Oliveira Paludo 2Renan Timóteo de Oliveira 2Nicolino Rosito 2Ubirajara Barroso Jr 3Juan Pablo Corbetta 4Pedro-José López Egaña 5Patric Machado Tavares 2Tiago Elias Rosito 6


Introduction: Burnout syndrome is a major cause of decreased life quality, mental health, and productivity for physicians. It is strongly related to work overload and has been a scarcely studied topic in pediatric urology. During the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities’ recommendations have led to big changes in pediatric urology practice worldwide. This study aimed to evaluate the level of burnout in Ibero-American pediatric urologists (IPUs) during this pandemic.

Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted by applying an electronic survey during the COVID-19 pandemic peak to members of the two major associations of pediatric urology in Ibero-America (the Ibero-American Society of Pediatric Urology [SIUP] and the Brazilian School of Pediatric Urology [BSPU]) to evaluate demographic, pre-pandemic, and pandemic data. Burnout levels were assessed using the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) questionnaire.

Results: A response rate of 40% was obtained (182 out of 455 IPU respondents). Participants were from 14 different countries in Ibero-America and 75.4% were male. Data showed that during the pandemic there was a significant decrease in weekly workload, that is: > 40 h per week (h/w) (91.4%-44.6%, p < 0.001); and >6 h/w (94.9%-45.1%%, p < 0.001) in operating room time (ORT). Personal (Pe-BO), work-related (W-BO), and patient-related (Pa-BO) burnout levels among IPUs were 26.3%, 22.3%, and 7.4%, respectively (Summary table). An important difference by gender was seen, with women suffering more from the syndrome (odds ratio of 2.67 [95% confidence interval, 1.285.58; p = 0.013] for Pe-BO and OR of 3.26 [95% CI, 1.52-7.01; p = 0.004] for W-BO).

Conclusion: A significant decrease in workload for IPU during the pandemic was observed, as well as a low level of burnout syndrome during this time. However, the predominance of burnout in women found in this study is notable.

Keywords: COVID-19; Mental health; Pandemic; Pediatric urology; Professional burnout.

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