Determinants of burnout among transplant surgeons: a national survey in the United States

Michelle T. Jesse, Henry Ford Health System
Marwan S. Abouljoud, Henry Ford Health System
Anne Eshelman


Burnout is a response to chronic strain within the workplace characterized by feelings of inefficacy (reduced personal accomplishment), cynicism (depersonalization) and emotional exhaustion. The purpose of this study was to report prevalence and explore organizational and interpersonal contributors of burnout in transplant surgeons. We performed a national cross-sectional survey of 218 transplant surgeons on sociodemographics, professional characteristics, frequency of difficult patient interactions and comfort in dealing with difficult patient interactions, decisional authority, psychological job demands, supervisor and coworker support, with burnout as the outcome. 40.1% reported high levels of emotional exhaustion, 17.1% reported high levels of depersonalization and 46.5% reported low personal accomplishment. Greater emotional exhaustion was predicted by lower decisional authority, higher psychological work demands, and lower coworker support. Greater discomfort with difficult patient interactions and lower coworker support predicted depersonalization. Lastly, lower decisional authority, lower coworker support, less frequent difficult patient interactions but greater discomfort with difficult patient interactions predicted lower personal accomplishment. The findings of this study show that unsupportive environments with little decisional control and high work-related demands contribute to the development of burnout in transplant surgeons. Implications for interventions aimed at prevention of burnout in transplant surgeons are discussed.