Job burnout and empathy in physicians and nurses


  • E. Wilczek-Ruzyczka


Background: The main objective of the presented research is to define dimensions of professional burnout, level of empathy components based on chosen independent variables of group of physicians and nurses, representing three various specialties – operational, non-operational and primary health care. Its aim is to try to demonstrate that empathy components are intervening and moderating variables in relation to professional burnout dimensions treated as dependent variables. Methods: The study, including group of 666 physicians and nurses, was based on the methods: Maslach's MBI questionnaire, Mahrabian-Epstein Empathy Scale, four chosen tables from Murray's TAT Test and self-prepared survey as well as widely used statistic procedures have been incorporated into the research. Findings: Significant differences (p ≤ 0,01) in the levels of emotional and behavioral components of the non operational group, the most empathic and the least burnt out in two dimensions (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization), in comparison to the other two groups, were the most meaningful. Additionally, significant relations between the levels of empathy components, professional burnout and some chosen independent variables have been defined. This may suggest treating empathy or its components as protective factors against professional burnout due to their moderating features. Discussion: Among the independent variables satisfaction should be considered particularly carefully. It correlates significantly with each of empathy components and is often significantly inversely related to professional burnout dimensions, especially in case of people with higher empathy level. This remains in some accordance with international researches which affirm the protective influence of satisfaction on professional burnout.





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