Thoracic Research and Practice
Original Article

Facing the Pandemic: Burnout in Physicians in Turkey


Department of Chest Diseases, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Pulmonology, Dokuz Eylül University Hospital, İnciralti, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Chest Diseases, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey

Thorac Res Pract 2021; 22: 439-445
DOI: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2021.20240
Read: 1084 Downloads: 861 Published: 01 November 2021

OBJECTIVE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians have been working for long hours, with the fear of contracting the disease and infecting their families. Therefore, there are great concerns about the mental health of physicians. In this research, we aimed to reveal the factors that affect the burnout among physicians working during the pandemic.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study involving physicians working during the pandemic in health institutions that admit COVID-19 patients. A questionnaire form consisting of the “Sociodemographic Data Form” and the “Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)” was used. The questionnaire was sent to the contact numbers of physicians via the internet. The target population was reached
through the communication groups of the Turkish Thoracic Society and other professional associations, the communication groups of health institutions, and also through personal correspondence. Burnout was evaluated with the scores of each participant from the 3 subscales of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Lack of Accomplishment (LA).

RESULTS: Of the 1177 physicians who participated in the survey, 893 answered the survey completely. Females comprised 56.70% (n = 506) of the respondents, and the mean age was 38.63 (±11.65). The residents (41%, n = 366) and specialists (31%, n = 277) made up the majority of the physicians. Eighty-six percent (n = 768) of the physicians had difficulty in obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE). It was determined that 81.7% (n = 730) of the 893 physicians were actively working in pandemic units (outpatient clinics, emergencies, inpatient clinics, intensive care units), and burnout was significantly higher in these physicians (P < .01). After excluding other confounding factors by regression analysis, their Maslach total scores and EE scores were found to be significantly high (P = .001).

CONCLUSION: Working in pandemic units and facing difficulty in accessing PPE are identified as the most important risk factors for burnout. Hence, we can say that working with PPE, and with the managers’ discretion and support, the physicians’ burnout can be prevented.

Cite this article as: Tarhan Ş, Ömeroğlu Şimşek G, Direk Tecirli N, et al. Facing the pandemic: Burnout in physicians in Turkey. Turk Thorac J. 2021; 22(6): 439-445.

EISSN 2979-9139