Burned-out surgeons – a review of risk factors and intervention types

  • Schadi Ebrahimi Maastricht University, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience
Keywords: burnout, surgeons, intervention, prevention


In today’s working society, burnout is a frequently mentioned subject. Burnout rates are especially high in the intensive care environment, particularly in surgeons. In this paper the problem of burnout in surgeons is discussed, with special focus on different interventions that should be considered in preventing burnout. Firstly, there are individual directed interventions, focusing on the individual, but not on the context he or she is in. Secondly, interventions aimed at the individual and organizational interface, referring to the individual in the context of his or her work environment. Thirdly, some organization directed interventions exist, focusing solely on the organization, leaving out the individual. The results of this review demonstrate that individual directed and organization directed interventions have each their respecting shortcomings, and therefore a combination of both strategies seems to be the best alternative to prevent burnout. Furthermore, choosing the best intervention depends on the factors lying behind the development of burnout in surgeons, which can be situational, or personal. To find a definitive answer for the search of the best intervention, more research in this area is necessary.