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Arch Hellen Med, 25(1), January-February 2008, 94-101


Burnout of physicians and nurses and its effects on the quality of health care

1Hellenic Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Patras,
2Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Department of Psychology, Athens, Greece

Burnout is defined by the three dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced personal accomplishment. It appears to be common among doctors and nurses, and situational, individual and personality factors have been reported to relate to burnout. The importance of burnout lies in its implications not only for the personal suffering of the health professionals, but also in the risk it carries of impairing the delivery of health care. Recent studies have demonstrated that burnout has negative effects on optimal patient care practices, patient satisfaction, and patient outcome. Given current efforts to improve the quality of care, these findings reinforce the importance of strategies to prevent and manage physician and nurse burnout. There are a number of specific burnout interventions the effectiveness of which in alleviating burnout has been evaluated. Further research in the form of prospective, longitudinal studies is required to elucidate the consequences of this condition, to identify risk factors for its development and to support the design of more effective types of intervention.

Key words: Burnout, Nurses, Physicians, Quality of health care.

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