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Vascular Surgeon Burnout and Resilience in the United Kingdom: A Report from the Vascular Society Workforce Committee

Published:March 02, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2022.01.032

      Highlights

      • Type of research: Survey study.
      • Out of 302 active Vascular Society members in the UK 38.4% had high burnout on the CBI.
      • Resilience was high on the BRS, 75% reported that they bounce back quickly after hard times. Univariate analysis did not identify long hours as predictive of burnout.
      • High resilience among surgeons may offer some protection from burnout.

      Background

      Occupational burnout is a growing concern in frontline roles such as vascular surgery, and is associated with medical errors and shortened careers. Our aim is to measure burnout, resilience, and associated risk factors among vascular surgeons (VS) in the United Kingdom (UK).

      Methods

      We carried out an electronic survey of active VS in the UK using validated self-report questionnaires, including the following: Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI), Brief Resilience Scale (BRS), and information on job characteristics, health, and well-being. Univariate regression analysis looked at potential risk factors.

      Results

      One hundred forty-eight VS responded (49% participation rate), and after excluding retirees and nonconsultants, 133 VS practicing in the UK were analyzed. Mean age was 49.9 ± 7.19 years; the majority (83.5%) were male. In total, 81.3% recorded ethnic identity as White. In addition, 93.2% worked full time; 74.8% were contracted above 10 programmed activities and 87.9% worked more than 40 hr/week. On-call was 1 in 6, or above, for 87.4%. Overall, 38.4% of VS had high burnout on the CBI. Resilience was also high, with BRS mean (standard deviation) of 3.6 (0.69) and median (interquartile range) of 3.7 (3–4). Univariate regression analysis found no significant risk factor associated with high burnout or resilience.

      Conclusions

      VS in the UK have high levels of burnout and work long hours. Resilience levels were also high, which may offer some protection. However, policymakers and our surgical leaders should address contributing factors and excessive working hours and establish measures to identify and support surgeon well-being for optimal surgeon and patient safety.
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