Health care professionals working in intensive care units report a high degree of burnout, but this topic has not been extensively studied from an interdisciplinary perspective.
To characterize experiences of burnout among members of interprofessional intensive care unit teams and identify possible contributing factors.
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.
Team composition was a factor in burnout, particularly 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.
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.