Five Boise State College of Health Sciences faculty published “Assessing Burnout and Well-Being in Higher Education Health Science Faculty” in Organizational Behavior Management, Integrative and Complementary Medicine journal. Authors include Kristen McHenry, assistant professor in the Department of Respiratory Care, Megan Koster, clinical associate professor and department chair in the Department of Respiratory Care, Gen Ludwig, clinical associate professor and Yong Gao, Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, and Jennifer Eichmeyer, clinical associate professor and director of the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program.
The study, aimed at health science faculty in a higher education institution, examined and compared the levels of burnout of the faculty. This was done by having faculty members self-examine their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study saw 45 respondents from multiple disciplines, including nursing, social work, community and environmental health, kinesiology, respiratory care, allied health, and radiologic sciences.
The study found that burnout levels were greater and well-being perception decreased for faculty who also had clinical teaching responsibilities compared to those who did not. Clinical teaching involves going to hospitals and clinics to work directly with students in the clinical setting. Also, faculty on a nine-month contract showed lower disengagement scores and level of burnout. Lastly, the study discovered a negative correlation with burnout and well-being, and that overall levels of burnout were moderate and heavily related to poorer well-being.
This study allowed for clinical professionals to recognize their own burnout and well-being, as well as recording what in particular made those feelings better or worse. Stress is common and is to be expected everywhere, but being able to recognize it and properly address it is a skill that needs to be cultivated, the authors say. They hope the results of this study will provide those in clinical professions and educators with the skills to be aware of their own well-being and manage it even in times of extreme stress.