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Burnout and Psychological Stress among Deans of Colleges of Medicine: A National Study

Author: DAVID M. MIRVIS, MARSHALL J. GRANEY, LESLIE INGRAM, JUN TANG, and ANNE OSBORNE KILPATRICK
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 29 No. 1

Psychological burnout may inhibit the ability of deans of
colleges of medicine to effectively lead their organizations during
periods of rapid change. The objective of this study was measure the
prevalence and intensity of the psychological components of burnout
and their correlates among deans of U.S. colleges of medicine. To do
so, questionnaires that burnout, job stressors, personal support systems
and job satisfaction were sent to deans of all U.S. colleges of medicine,
and selected deans of nursing schools, and other academic health center
leaders. Medical school deans exhibited a high prevalence of
depersonalization (42.9% of respondents), emotional exhaustion
(25.4%), and reduced personal accomplishment (27.0%). High levels
of these subdomains and of overall burnout intensity significantly
correlated with high levels of personal, job, and environmental stress;
low levels of support or coping resources; high prevalence of physical
and behavioral symptoms; and reduced job satisfaction. Deans of
colleges of medicine frequently exhibit characteristics of burnout that
may impede effective leadership. These characteristics are likely to
intensify unless specific interventions are devised and implemented.

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