Original Article

Evaluating the Burnout-Thriving Index in a Multidisciplinary Cohort at a Large Academic Medical Center

Authors: Rebecca Gates, BS, David Musick, PhD, Mark Greenawald, MD, Kimberly Carter, PhD, RN, Richard Bogue, PhD, Lauren Penwell-Waines, PhD


Objectives: There has been significant discussion about the quality of burnout research, especially with regard to abbreviated measurements of burnout and/or well-being. The purpose of this study was to compare a single-item, investigator-developed question measuring perceived well-being with validated multi-item measures of burnout and well-being.

Methods: Between 2016 and 2017, healthcare professionals and medical students at a large academic hospital system were sent an online survey measuring the risk of burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory), well-being (Physician or Nurse Well-Being Self-Assessment Tool), and perception of personal well-being (Burnout-Thriving Index [BTI], an investigator-developed, single-item measure). Analyses included linear and multiple regression and Pearson correlations.

Results: The study sample included 1365 medical students, frontline nurses, resident physicians, supervising physicians or fellows, and advanced care practitioners. There were significant differences in all Maslach Burnout Inventory and Physician or Nurse Well-Being Self-Assessment Tool subscale scores based on BTI score (all P < 0.001). Adjusted R2 ranged from 0.066 (religiospiritual wellness) to 0.343 (emotional exhaustion). BTI had a stronger relation with personal accomplishment in medical students compared with nurses (P = 0.049) and a stronger relation with psychoemotional wellness in physicians and physicians-in-training compared with nurses (P < 0.05). A low BTI score demonstrated >80% sensitivity for high emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and low personal accomplishment.

Conclusions: The BTI may be used to screen for individuals who could benefit from completing a full burnout assessment and may be used to collect a quick “big picture” impression of burnout and well-being at a healthcare institution. Further research is needed to compare BTI score with known consequences of burnout and to explore differences in the relation between BTI score and psychoemotional wellness in different professional groups.

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