The Prevalence of Burnout among Oncology Professionals


Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine, Lithuania


Department of Rehabilitation Physics and Sports Medicine, National Cancer Institute, Vilnius, Lithuania


Intoduction: Burnout is a work-related mental condition consisting of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished feelings of personal accomplishment. International research shows that oncologists suffers more from burnout than other healthcare professionals. This survey evaluates the prevalence of burnout among men and women oncologists in Vilnius National Cancer Institute. Detecting burnout is highly relevant, because it affects the personal well-being and quality of life of the healthcare professional.

Methods: Lithuanian version of standardized Maslach questionnaire– MBI-HSS (Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey), which is designed for professionals in the human services were used.  The questionnaire contains 22 propositions that measure three dimensions of burnout syndrome (emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and personal achievements) and gender.

Results: In total, 105 female (n=60) and male (n=45) oncologists responded to the survey. Thirty-eight percent of oncologists had high levels of burnout on the MBI, while 72% had at least moderate levels of burnout. Women (57,1% vs. 42,8%, P < 0.05) higher rates of burnout. Female oncologists are more likely to experience burnout than male oncologists, revealing instead that women are slightly more emotionally exhausted than men, while men are more depersonalized than women. The results indicated satisfactory reliability through internal consistency for all three scales of the MBI-HSS. The Cronbach’s alpha was satisfactory for personal achievements (alpha =.71) and emotional exhaustion (alpha =.85), and moderate for depersonalisation (alpha =.58).

Conclusion: The research showed a significantly increased level of burnout components in oncologists. Female oncologists are more likely to experience burnout than male oncologists and feel more emotionally exhausted whereas men are more depersonalized than women. These results should have an impact on the daily clinic of oncology, and could be guidance for further research.