Doctor, how can we help you? Qualitative interview study to identify key interventions to target burnout in hospital doctors

Adequate staffing levels and cover arrangements identified as key priorities for tackling work stress and burnout

An RCPI-led study, which set out to identify priority interventions to prevent and reduce work stress and burnout in hospital doctors, has found that practical, system-focused interventions are of greatest need.

Doctor, how can we help you? Qualitative interview study to identify key interventions to target burnout in hospital doctors was published in BMJ Open on 5 September 2019.

This was the first qualitative study that aimed to identify priority interventions for work stress and burnout by interviewing doctors about their own experiences and their preferences with respect to interventions.

Interviews were scheduled with 16 practising consultants and 16 doctors in training, with a representative mix of gender, specialty and career stage.

Two main areas were explored: experiences of work stress and burnout and suggested interventions for the prevention and reduction of work stress and burnout.

Interviewees regularly described scenarios reflecting a hospital system under strain and sustained pressure to meet unmanageable demand. Human Resources practices, which force sick doctors to secure their own cover, were described as being inadequate and unethical. 

The intervention identified by doctors as the highest priority was a review of staffing levels and cover arrangements locally, with the goal of facilitating for all doctors the allocation of statutory leave and ensuring full cover during statutory leave.

Read the full article on BMJ Open: bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/9/e030209