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Preventive care for burnout: General practitioner pilot program in Barcelona

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2013.56A2005    3,781 Downloads   5,378 Views Citations


Background: Despite the prevalence of “professsional exhaustion syndrome” or “burnout”, very few intervention programs for healthcare professionals have been proposed, and even fewer have been evaluated. The Catalan Health Institute requested an intervention that would be preventive, integrated, and would differentiate between those affected by burnout and those with established psychopathologic disorders requiring specific treatment. Aims: To describe the experience and initial reflections from the first cohort of primary care physicians in the Barcelona public health system to participate in a program designed to prevent burnout. Methods: Descriptive analysis of the characteristics of this secondary prevention program: design, cost estimates, recruitment and screening, and activities (training, organization, and group techniques). Particular emphasis on the process of identifying potentially affected professionals, how they were offered the opportunity to participate, and the coordinated and confidential nature of the program. Results: Of a target population of 969 family doctors and pediatricians in public primary care services in Barcelona, 6 (0.61%) applied for full program participation. All of them, along with 2 non-medical professionals in primary care services who joined the program, met the clinical and psychometric criteria (Shirom-Melamed Burnout Measure, General Health Questionnaire, and the 16 Personality Factors Questionnaire) of the desired participant profile. Conclusions: The level of participation could suggest defects in program design or, alternatively, problems in the concept of burnout. This construct may be more useful for detecting stress attributed to occupational contexts than for facilitating participation in activities related to its prevention or treatment.

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Tizón, J. , Gràcia, P. , Larripa, A. , Artigue, J. and Casajuana, J. (2013) Preventive care for burnout: General practitioner pilot program in Barcelona. Health, 5, 24-31. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.56A2005.

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