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Factores de riesgo organizacionales asociados al síndrome de burnout en médicos anestesiólogos

Factores de riesgo organizacionales asociados al síndrome de burnout en médicos anestesiólogosYusvisaret Palmer
Antonio Gómez-Vera
Carlos Cabrera-Pivaral
Roberto Prince-Vélez
Roberto Searcy

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California


Burnout Syndrome is considered by the WHO as a worker’s risk, that causes mental and physical deterioration (headaches, gastrointestinal illness, high blood pressure, muscular tension and chronic fatigue). This is a result of chronic stress and of the workplace environment, which today is cold, hostile, demanding, both economically and psychologically. People are becoming cynical, with negative feelings toward their patients and their professional roll; they feel emotional exhaustion. This occurs frequently in health workers who deal with people who are dependent. What is the cause of this syndrome that is damaging the community of the workers? It is due to many facts, such as organizations where there is work overload (workload is a dimension of organizational life, this means productivity. In their scramble for increased productivity, organizations push people beyond what they can sustain, making work more intense, demanding more time and becoming more complex; this is the major risk factor, in which is shown an uncorrelation between the people and their work); lack of control (of the capacity to set priorities in their own work, to select and to make decisions regarding resources that are central in the professional roll; politics of the organization that interfere with this capacity, reduce individual autonomy an involvement with work); lack of reward (lack of community harmony, lack of fairness and also value conflict); breakdown of community (the loss of harmony in the community is made evident by greater conflicts among people, less mutual support and respect, and a growing sense of isolation); absence of fairness (trust, openness and respect, are all three, elements of fairness essential to maintain a person’s engagement with work. Their absence contributes directly to burnout); conflicting values (this occurs when there is no correlation between the sources of workplace and the personal values, in some cases work overload makes people work with no ethics, causing them conflict with their own values).

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This syndrome has three dimensions: Exhaustion. When people experience exhaustion, they feel overextresed, both emotionally and physically; they feel drained, unable to recover, they don’t sleep enough, and lack of energy needed to face new projects. Exhaustion is the first reaction to the stress of job demands or major change. Cynicism. They take a distant attitude toward work and the people on the job. They minimise their involvement at work and even give up their ideals. In some way, this is a form of protecting themselves from exhaustion and disappointment, persons feel it’s safer to be indifferent, especially when the future is uncertain. Such a negative attitude can seriously damage a person’s wellbeing and capacity to work. Ineffectiveness. Persons feel a growing sense of inadequacy, every project seems overwhelming, they think everybody conspires against them, and whatever they do, seems to be trivial. They lose confidence in themselves, and at the same time, others lose confidence in them. They become vulnerable to family trangements, and to abandon social activities, they tend to remain alone. By this time they can incur in drug abuse, become mentally insane, and in extreme cases, comit suicide. The measurement instrument for the diagnosis of Burnout Syndrome is Maslach Burnout Inventory, which allows to sample large populations under this condition; it was developed by Maslach in 1976, and a large number of studies have been developed by this time. Chronic stress could have important effects on the quality of family relationships and have a negative influence in anesthesiology performance as well. Because of this important problem that affects physical condition of illness, mental health and performance and quality of medical services, and also because there are no studies in the anesthesiologist environment, we performed this study to asses burnout among anesthesiologist in the city of Mexicali, Baja California. The object of this study was to determine and evaluate the organizational factors associated to burnout, because anesthesiologist performs at surgery rooms, where they have to manage chronic and sustained stress; moreover they get involved with patients, and are exposed to organizational factors. Burnout may affect mental health, and thus, the performance of the anesthesiologist practice, fact that even may put in serious risk the life of patients.

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