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Professional burnout among basic life support caregivers in the Basque Country

Ballesteros Peña S, Lorrio Palomino S, Rollán Vallejos J

Bilbao SAMUR - Protección Civil. Ayuntamiento de Bilbao. Spain. Emergentziak-Osakidetza, Spain.

Objectives: To quantify the level of professional burnout among emergency medical
responders who provide basic life support in the Basque Country of Spain and to explore
the association between professional burnout and conventional social and occupational
Methods: Exploratory cross-sectional study of a representative sample (reporting 95%
confidence intervals [CI]; precision of 9%). The sample consisted of a stratified random
selection of 98 emergency medical responders. The participants answered the Maslach
Burnout Inventory (MBI), a psychometric questionnaire covering social and occupational
characteristics. Descriptive statistics were compiled and comparisons between subgroups
were considered significant at a level of P<.05.
Results: Eighty-seven emergency responders (88.8%; 95% CI, 80.8%-94.3%) had MBI
scores compatible with professional burnout syndrome. The global score indicated high
or very high risk of burnout in 61 (62.2%; 95% CI, 51.9%-71.8%) and moderate risk in
26 (26.5%; 95% CI, 18.1%-36.4%). Responders who had been working longer in the
field were at higher risk of burnout (P=.031). A lower educational level correlated with
lower scores on the subscale for feeling drained of emotional energy (P=.04). Longer
experience in the profession correlated with a feeling of achieving less than one should
Conclusions: The prevalence of risk of professional burnout syndrome is very high
among emergency medical responders in the Basque Country and is higher than the
prevalence identified among other groups of health care professionals. Spending a
longer period in the profession is associated with high risk of burnout. However,
additional variables should be explored to discover the possible reasons for burnout in
these professionals.

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