Examining burnout in interprofessional intensive care unit clinicians using qualitative analysis

Gretchen A. Colbenson, Jennifer L. Ridgeway, Roberto P. Benzo, Diana J. Kelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Health care professionals working in intensive care units report a high degree of burnout, but this topic has not been extensively studied from an interdis-ciplinary perspective. Objective To characterize experiences of burnout among members of interprofessional intensive care unit teams and identify possible contributing factors. Methods This qualitative study involved interviews of registered nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, pharmacists, and a personal care assistant working in multiple intensive care units of a single academic medical center to assess work stressors. Results Team composition was a factor in burnout, par-ticularly when nonphysician team members felt that their opinions were not valued despite the institution’s emphasis on a multidisciplinary team-based model of care. This was especially true when roles were not well defined at the outset of a code situation. Members of nearly all disciplines stated that there was not enough time in a day to complete all the required tasks. Conclusions Multiple factors contribute to work-related stress and burnout across different professions in the intensive care unit. Improved communication and increased receptivity to diverse opinions among members of the multidisciplinary team may help reduce stress. (American Journal of Critical Care. 2021;30:391-396).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-396
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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