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Burnout syndrome among intensive care staff


Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DEP) and lack of personal accomplishment (PA). The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is a widely used psychometric instrument for measuring excessive job-related stress in different working areas.


To determine the existence of the burnout syndrome among medical (MICU) and surgical (SICU) intensive care staff.


A sample group of 41 nurses and emergency physicians from the MICU and 30 from the SICU was tested anonymously by MBI using a 22-item questionnaire. Statistical analyses were carried out by X ± standard deviation, and Mann–Whitney rank sum t test (P < 0.05).


Total scores (X ± standard deviation) of the MBI were higher for the MICU (65.53 ± 6.78) than for the SICU (55.7 ± 3.89) staff (P < 0.05). MICU staff showed a moderate degree of EE (24.97 ± 11.25), DEP (6.06 ± 5.64), and PA (34.44 ± 8.85). The same parameters showed better results among the SICU staff; a low degree of EE (17.10 ± 5.27), as well as a low level of MBI DEP (5.27 ± 5.08), and a moderate degree of PA (33.70 ± 9.85). Between the groups statistically significant differences were found for total MBI and EE (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences between MICU and SICU staff for DEP or PA parameters. Overall job burnout was represented in a moderate degree.


Early recognition of burnout as a result of prolonged stress and frustration among intensive care staff contributes to better professional behaviour, organizational structure changes in the work environment and better health care quality for critically ill patients.

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Cubrilo-Turek, M. Burnout syndrome among intensive care staff. Crit Care 9, P247 (2005).

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  • Work Environment
  • Care Quality
  • Moderate Degree
  • Early Recognition
  • Emotional Exhaustion