Background: Many evidences suggesting that hiring more hospitalists could result in cost savings, higher quality of care, and superior treatment outcomes[1-3]. Despite the benefits of introducing hospitalists in the hospitals, solely focusing on their productivity can potentially bring burnout and stress, even psychiatric symptoms, to them[4-8]. Recognizing and addressing the burnout and psychiatric symptoms of healthcare professionals is not merely an ethical concern but also a strategic investment in the overall effectiveness of the healthcare system. In this study, we aim to evaluate and analyze the burnout and psychiatric symptoms of hospitalist through an organized questionnaire.

Methods: We performed cross-sectional online survey targeted to all of the hospitalists in Korea (n=303) conducted during 20 days from 30 January 2022 to 18 February 2022. We used Maslach burnout inventory-human services survey (MBI-HSS)[9] for assessing burnout, Depression, anxiety, and stress scales (DASS-21)[10] for psychiatric symptoms including depression and anxiety, and Insomnia severity index (ISI) for sleep disturbance[11]. Potential risk factors and protective factors against burnout and psychiatric symptoms were gathered by survey items with a 5-point Likert scale.

Results: A total of 79 participants finished the survey among 303 hospitalists (mean age = 40.8, 48.1% female), which makes response rate 24.1%. More than half of the respondents screened positive for two burnout domains; 50.6% for depersonalization and 57% for reduced personal accomplishment (Figure 1). Maximum number of inpatients, availability of research mentor, and satisfaction with non-clinical works were found to be protective factors for burnout in multivariate logistic regression analysis (Table 1). About 30.4% of the respondents (n=24) reported experiencing subthreshold insomnia symptoms, and 8.9% (n=7) were screened for having moderate to severe insomnia. No respondents screened positive for more than severe depression, anxiety, or stress.

Conclusions: The study reveals a concerning 50% burnout rate among Korean hospitalists, with around 30% experiencing insomnia symptoms, suggesting potential implications for mental health. The result of this study could inform strategies to mitigate burnout among hospitalists, contributing to the enhancement of healthcare professionals’ mental well-being and the advancement of medical quality.

IMAGE 1: Figure 1. Burnout rate of the respondents among Korean hospitalists (n=79)

IMAGE 2: Table 1. Multivariable logistic regression with burnout total score and subcategory score