The global level of harm among surgical professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic: A multinational cross-sectional cohort study (2022)

Type of publication:Journal article

Author(s):Abouelazayem, Mohamed; Viswanath, Yirupaiahgari K S; Bangash, Ali Haider; Herrera Kok, Johnn Henry; Cheruvu, Chandra; Parmar, Chetan; Atici, Semra Demirli; Yang, Wah; Galanis, Michail; Di Maggio, Francesco; Isik, Arda; *Bandyopadhyay, Samik Kumar

Citation:Surgery; Mar 2022 [epub ahead of print]

Abstract:BACKGROUND Health care workers, including surgical professionals, experienced psychological burnout and physical harm during the coronavirus 2019 pandemic. This global survey investigated the coronavirus 2019 pandemic impact on psychological and physical health.
METHODS We conducted a global cross-sectional survey between February 18, 2021 and March 13, 2021. The primary outcome was to assess the psychological burnout, fulfillment, and self-reported physical level of harm. A validated Stanford Professional Fulfilment Index score with a self-reported physical level of harm was employed. We used a practical overall composite level ofharm score to calculate the level of harm gradient 1-4, combining psychological burnout with self-reported physical level of harm score.
RESULTS A total of 545 participants from 66 countries participated. The final analysis included 520 (95.4%) surgical professionals barring medical students. Most of the participants (81.3%)were professionally unfulfilled. The psychological burnout was evident in 57.7% and was significantly common in those <50 years (P = .002) and those working in the public sector (P = .005). Approximately 41.7% of respondents showed changes in the physical health with self-remedy and no impact on work, whereas 14.9% reported changes to their physical health with <2 weeks off work, and 10.1% reported changes in physical health requiring >2 weeks off work. Severe harm (level of harm 4) was detected in 10.6%, whereas moderate harm (level of harm 3) affected 40.2% of the participants. Low and no harm (level of harm 2 and level of harm 1) represented 27.5% and 21.7%, respectively. CONCLUSION Our study showed that high levels of psychological burnout, professional unfulfillment, work exhaustion, and severe level of harm was more frequent in younger professionals working in the public sector. The findings correlated with a high level of harm in surgical professionals impacting surgical services.

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