Sumaiyah Saeed Khan
Burnout syndrome is an occupational mental health problem that affects human service professionals, including physicians, due to chronic job stress. It is a syndrome of three dimensions: high emotional exhaustion (EE), high depersonalization (DP) and reduced personal accomplishment (PA), that can occur among individuals who work with people. The PHC physicians are placed under stresses as they are required to provide quality services despite the weakness of infrastructure, shortage of staff, and increased number of patients. In addition, PHC physicians are required to continuously update their knowledge, improve their skills and at the same time take care of themselves and their families. All these stresses may eventually lead PHC physicians to “burnout”. Despite the importance of this occupational mental health problem, there is a dearth of literature about job burnout among physicians in Saudi Arabia.
To determine the prevalence of burnout as a health problem and its associated factors in Primary health care Physicians working at the Ministry of Health Primary health care centers in Makkah city, Saudi Arabia.
A cross-sectional survey of all eligible primary health care physicians was conducted using a self-administered validated questionnaire composed of two parts. The first part included questions regarding personal and professional characteristics of physicians. The second part was Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI). The prevalence of burnout and each dimension of burnout were calculated. The SPSS program was used for data entry and analysis. Multiple regression analysis was used to find out the possible predictors of burnout.
A total of (139 ) PHC physicians were invited to participate. Out of them, (131) returned completed questionnaire, giving a response rate of( 94.2%). The mean age of physicians was a(39.6±9.6) year. More than half of them were males (52.7%). Most of them were non-Saudi (71%), almost two-thirds of physicians (64.9%) were GPs not certified in Family Medicine. High EE, High DP and decreased PA were reported among (38.2%), (25.2%) and (23.7%) of physicians respectively. The overall prevalence of burnout among them was (9.9%) while that of modified burnout was (21.4%). Burnout was significantly associated with low job satisfaction of the physicians ( p= 0,001) .
From the results of the current study, it could be concluded that the prevalence of burnout among PHC physicians is ( 9.9%). Burnout seems to be not uncommon problem among PHC physicians in Makkah city, Saudi Arabia. Based on these finding , looking for strategies to prevent and manage burnout in our PHC physicians is recommended. However , a longitudinal studies that could lead to understanding of the determinants of burnout among physicians in Saudi Arabia should be conducted.