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A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, and Compassion Satisfaction in Pediatric Critical Care Physicians in the United States*

Gribben, Jeanie L., BS1; Kase, Samuel M., BA1; Waldman, Elisha D., MD2; Weintraub, Andrea S., MD1

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: March 2019 - Volume 20 - Issue 3 - p 213–222
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000001803
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Objectives: To determine the prevalence of compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction and identify potential personal and professional predictors of these phenomena in pediatric critical care providers.

Design: Cross-sectional, online survey.

Setting: Pediatric critical care practices in the United States.

Subjects: Pediatric critical care fellows and attending physicians.

Interventions: None.

Measurement and Main Results: A modified Compassion Fatigue and Satisfaction Self-Test for Helpers and a questionnaire of personal and professional characteristics were distributed electronically to pediatric critical care physicians nationally. Prevalence of these phenomena was calculated. Hierarchical linear regression models for compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction as a function of potential risk factors were constructed. The survey response rate was 35.7%. The prevalence of compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction was 25.7%, 23.2%, 16.8%, respectively. Burnout score, emotional depletion, and distress about a patient and/or the physical work environment were each significant determinants of higher Compassion Fatigue scores. Preparing for didactics, Compassion Fatigue score, distress about administrative issues and/or coworkers, and “self-care is not a priority” were each significant determinants of higher burnout scores, whereas female sex, Compassion Satisfaction score, and distress about the physical work environment were each significant determinants of lower burnout scores. Prayer/meditation, talking with colleagues, senior faculty level, and student and/or chaplain involvement when delivering bad news were each significant predictors of higher Compassion Satisfaction scores, whereas female sex, burnout score, emotional depletion, and distress about coworkers were each significant predictors of lower Compassion Satisfaction scores.

Conclusions: In our population, chronic exposure to distress in patients and families puts pediatric critical care physicians at risk for compassion fatigue and low compassion satisfaction. Awareness of compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction and their predictors may benefit providers both personally and professionally by allowing them to proactively manage their distress.

1Division of Newborn Medicine and Department of Pediatrics, Kravis Children’s Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.

2Division of Palliative Care, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

*See also p. 290.

Ms. Gribben and Mr. Kase contributed equally to this work.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (http://journals.lww.com/pccmjournal).

The authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

For information regarding this article, E-mail: andrea.weintraub@mssm.edu

©2019The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies