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Prevalence of dietitian burnout

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Abstract Background: 

Burnout is the result of unmanaged stress that has been shown to affect those working in the healthcare professions. Although much research has been conducted on burnout among nurses, physicians and other health professionals, there is limited documentation on the phenomenon among dietitians. The purpose of this study was to establish the prevalence of burnout among dietitians in Ontario, Canada, determine the demographic variables associated with burnout, and compare these results with burnout data for other healthcare professionals. Methods: 

The Maslach Burnout Inventory–Human Services Survey and a demographic questionnaire were emailed to registered dietitians. Results: 

The dietitians surveyed experienced a moderate amount of emotional exhaustion (mean = 19.96), a low level of depersonalisation (mean = 4.31) and a moderate sense of personal accomplishment (mean = 38.61). Statistically significant relationships were found between years as a dietitian and personal accomplishment (r = 0.16; P = 0.05), age and personal accomplishment (r = 0.15; P = 0.01), hours worked per week and emotional exhaustion (r = 0.17; P = 0.01) and hours worked per week and depersonalisation (r = 0.14; P = 0.01). There were no significant differences in mean burnout scores across the five areas of practice. Over 57% of dietitians had scores indicative of moderate to high levels of burnout overall. Conclusions: 

Although dietitians have lower levels of burnout compared to other healthcare professionals, moderate levels of emotional exhaustion and only moderate levels of personal accomplishment remain workplace issues for this professional group.

Keywords: Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI); burnout; career resilience; emotional exhaustion; registered dietitians

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-06-01

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