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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2020 May;36(5):236-239. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000002093.

Prevalence and Risk Factors for Burnout in Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellows.

Pediatric emergency care

Caitlin Feeks, Jennifer Chao, Richard Sinert


  1. From the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

PMID: 32229786 DOI: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000002093


Burnout among emergency medicine (EM) physicians (57%) is significantly greater than among pediatricians (39%). Pediatric EM (PEM) providers are a unique population in that the majority first complete a pediatric residency and then a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine. We sought to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for burnout in PEM fellows.

METHODS: An e-mail survey that included the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) Health Services Survey was sent to fellows in PEM programs. Anonymous surveys were scored using the MBI subscales of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Fellows with scores of moderate to high in both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were considered to have burnout. The data were compared with demographic information, including fellowship year, sex, and relationship status. Participants were also asked to list items in their life they felt were burnout contributors. The burnout rate was reported as a percentage with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), based on the Agresti-Coull method. Associations between categorical variables and burnout were tested with Fisher exact test, alpha = 0.05 (2 tails).

RESULTS: Of 463 PEM fellows, 146 responses were received (30% response rate), and 139 surveys were scored. Over half (65%) of the respondents were female. The burnout prevalence of PEM fellows was 30.9% (95% CI, 24%-39%). The burnout rate was significantly (P = 0.002) lower for men (13%) (95% CI, 6%-26%) than for women (39.8%) (95% CI, 30%-50%). Fellows who were single (50%) or divorced (66.7%) had significantly (P = 0.008) higher rates of burnout compared with married (27%) fellows. Current training year was not a significant burnout risk. Major contributors to burnout were work environment (52.5%), academic responsibilities of fellowship (36%), schedule (35.3%), work-life balance (33.8%), and career / occupational stress (33.1%).

CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric emergency medicine fellows had a 30.9% prevalence of burnout. Risk factors for burnout were similar for PEM fellows and EM physicians. Women were more likely to suffer from burnout, as well as fellows who were single or divorced.

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