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The survey highlights the need for emergency measures as the burnout syndrome reaches a new high in emergency medicine

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a long-term increase in workload and stress among specialists in many healthcare sectors, but this has been particularly evident in emergency medicine (EM). A survey conducted by the European Society for Emergency Medicine (EUSEM) among EM professionals in 89 countries found that 62% of respondents had at least one symptom of burnout and 31.2% two. The results of the survey are published today in European Journal of Emergency Medicine.

The document shows that the chronic problems facing EM specialists, such as staff shortages, limited resources, overcrowding and lack of recognition, have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The observed level of burnout means that these healthcare professionals deserve professional clinical evaluation and support. It is worrying that less than half of the respondents (41.4%) said they have access to such psychological support, either face-to-face or at a distance. “

EUSEM President Dr Abdo Khoury, Department of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care, Besançon University Hospital, Besançon, France

“Burnout can lead to alcohol and drug abuse and even suicide in healthcare professionals. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is another common manifestation of burnout syndrome that can have devastating long-term consequences for individuals.”

It is also worrying to find that many of those with burnout have considered a career change and that this change has prevailed among younger professionals rather than older and more experienced professionals. This would necessarily lead to a lack of staff, at least in the short term, and would only worsen the situation for those who remain

“An EM worker who is overworked under stress will also have a negative impact on patients,” said Dr. Khoury. “Burnout can result in a remote or indifferent approach to work, as well as reduced productivity and efficiency. It can lead to lower quality of care and an increase in medical errors.”

During the pandemic, EM specialists were the first-line advocates to classify patients in extremely difficult and busy conditions, where it was also necessary to prevent the spread of infection. The need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and the resulting fear of self-infections are an additional burden that may still be insufficiently recognized.

“Health authorities have rightly placed patient satisfaction and well-being at the top of their list of priorities. Nevertheless, it is overwhelming evidence that health professionals also have unmet needs and that these needs are growing exponentially. An important social determinant of health is exposure. more exposed to stress during a pandemic than EM specialists, “say the authors of the article.

“EM specialists have carried a particularly heavy burden on their shoulders and are suffering as a result. Urgent measures are needed to reduce the burnout syndrome and thus encourage those considering leaving the profession to rethink their profession. Many interventions have proven to be “They were disappointed to see how few are currently being introduced. The pandemic has shown how crucial they are,” they conclude.


European Society for Emergency Medicine


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