The following is the summary of “Burnout Among Respiratory Therapists Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic” published in the December 2022 issue of Respiratory Care by Strickland, et al.

Healthcare professionals often struggle with burnout, which has been linked to negative results for patients, care providers, and employers. However, few studies have examined burnout from a respiratory therapist’s (RT) perspective, and no studies have published a comprehensive examination of RTs’ view of factors linked with burnout. This qualitative research aimed to better comprehend the causes of burnout among RTs working during the COVID-19 epidemic. Researchers analyzed free-text replies to a survey about RT burnout using a post hoc qualitative analysis.

Investigators counted a total of 1,114 replies, 220 of which were free-form. Staffing, workload, physical/emotional consequences, ineffective leadership, and a lack of respect were the five overriding themes that emerged from the investigation. Concerns about insufficient staffing, high workload assignments, and unsatisfactory leadership support were also voiced by respondents, along with feelings of anxiety, sadness, and compassion fatigue. It has been claimed that increased patient acuity, increased critically sick patients, fast shifts in treatment recommendations, and inadequate training and preparation for a broader scope of practice all contributed to burnout. 

Some respondents expressed an attitude of disrespect toward RTs and their role in patient care. Themes associated with burnout in RTs included staffing, workload, physical and emotional exhaustion, lack of effective leadership, and lack of respect. These results provide potential targets for interventions to combat burnout among RTs.