Survey: COVID-19 Drove Burnout Among Cardiology Care Team Members

May 17, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

A cardiologist and wellness expert discusses new findings showing more than one-third of her peers were burnt out from experiences during the pandemic.

A new assessment of global survey respondents showed burnout increased from 20% to 38% among members of the cardiology care team during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The findings, presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2021 Scientific Sessions this week, showed nearly half of 1200-plus US and international cardiologists, trainees, and cardiovascular team members reported inadequate health system support for pandemic-related stressors including emotional support (45%) workers’ basic needs (41%), and childcare (41%).

Led by Laxmi S. Mehta, MD, vice chair of Wellness and director of Lipid Clinics at The Ohio State University, the ACC 2020 Well Being Study investigators reported that about half of their 1288 surveyed respondents from November 2020 had provided direct in-person care for patients with COVID-19. Another 21% reported not having adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Though multivariate and subgroup assessment is still pending to interpret predictors of burnout among the pandemic-era cardiology care team members, the findings do distinguish a significant likelihood of professional changes made by those affected: 23% plan to reduce clinical hours in the coming year, and 13% each want to now leave their current practice or retire early.

In an interview with HCPLive during ACC 2021, Mehta discussed the particularities of the survey findings, what cardiologists may be specifically be facing in drivers of burnout during COVID-19, and how the pandemic may influence the immediate future makeup and morale of the field.

“One of the things that we fear is…when you’ve come out of this high-intensity environment that we’ve been through, PTSD-like conditions may arise—within the medical community, but even in our patients and communities as well,” Mehta said.

The study, “Impact Of COVID-19 On The Global Cardiovascular Workforce: The ACC 2020 Well Being Study,” was presented at ACC 2021.


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