Job burnout and empathy among different healthcare professionals

Original Article, Pol J Public Health, Vol. 132 (2022): 34-39

Ewelina Iskra1, Agnieszka Pachnia2, Bartłomiej Drop3,
Małgorzata Polz-Dacewicz1

1 Department of Virology with SARS Laboratory, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
2 Ludwików Medical Facility, Ludwikow, Poland
3 Department of Information Technology and Medical Statistics, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

DOI_disc_logo 10.2478/pjph-2022-0007

© 2022  Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


Introduction. Burnout and empathy affect employees in social professions due to the demanding work environment. Charac­terized, among others, by: stress, experiencing failure, workload and its multitasking. At the same time, social professions require high interpersonal skills, active listening, communication, empathy, patience and interest from people who practice them.

Aim. The aim of the study was to analyze the influence of occupational burnout on showing empathy among medical person­nel towards patients.

Material and methods. The research was conducted among a group of 104 nurses and 103 doctors, working in hospitals and clinics located in urban areas. The nurses’ mean age is 37,35 (SD=11.32), the doctors’ mean age is 32.50 (SD=8.29).The surveyed persons completed a set of questionnaires: Self-authorship sheet for collecting sociodemographic data, Link Burnout Question­naire by Massimo Santinello, and Personal Empathy Questionnaire by Zenon Uchnast.

Results. The conducted research shows a negative correlation between occupational burnout and the empathy of medical per­sonnel. Research also shows that burnout affects younger medical staff with a short period of work and wage-driven. On the other hand, empathy is visible above the age of 40.

Conclusion. The research deepened the knowledge about the factors of burnout, which have an impact on the negative percep­tion of development opportunities, failure to perceive work efficiency and the perception of the professional situation as signifi­cantly exceeding the individual’s abilities. Negative correlations between burnout and staff empathy indicate a lack of burnout in empathetic people. However, you should bear in mind that having mature empathy protects you from burnout.

Keywords: empathy, job burnout, nurse, doctor, medical staff, psychophysical exhaustion.

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