That Burnout Syndrome...

Burnout has become a very common theme when people discuss professional life and workplace. Probably, at some moment, we may have asked ourselves 'Do I have Burnout Syndrome?' 'What exactly is Burnout and what are the symptoms?'.

So, let’s understand this syndrome!

About 1/3 of our life is dedicated to work, and it is responsible to confer identity, determine interpersonal relationships and, in a certain way, to give meaning to people's lives. However, when the worker's expectations and ideals are different from reality, problems may arise from fulfillment to exhaustion, not by the work itself, but by the organizational and emotional environment in there.

In the last years, the impact of work on health has been studied, drawing attention to an important process of falling ill, affecting the personal, social and professional spheres of the worker, with negative consequences in the emotional, cognitive and behavioral environments, and consequently, in the quality of life.

Among professionals affected by chronic stress related to work are those who have more contact with people and - mainly - those who are health care and/or education professionals.

The term Burnout or exhaustion emerged in the mid-1970s, when Freunderberger described cases of gradual emotional exhaustion, loss of motivation, and reduced commitment to work due to low personal accomplishment.

Currently, the syndrome is considered a public health issue, considering that it involves an increased risk of suicide and suicidal ideation, an increased risk of alcohol consumption, and occupational injuries associated with early retirements, absenteeism and employee turnover. Many professionals whho are affected usually leave the profession and change the professional area.

Symptoms are gradual and float according to working environment conditions. Observe the table 1.

Table 1. Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Burnout Syndrome

The most affected professionals are usually the best and most productive ones, most self-critical, perfectionists, and committed to work; they also suffer from sleep deprivation and do not have an adequate balance of personal/social life and work. Young people and those in the first job tend to have more exhaustion, due to professional expectations.

The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) made the diagnosis, a self-administered questionnaire developed in the early 1980s by Maslach and Jackson, which measures the level of professional exhaustion in three different dimensions.

Two Brazilian studies made in primary health care showed that more than a half of the professionals had high and moderate risk to Burnout. Among intensive care professionals the symptoms of severe Burnout Syndrome are found in approximately 25% to 33%.

However, there is prevention or reduction of Burnout Syndrome with actions in individual level and also in institutional level.

Individually, it is important to recognize the weaknesses and seek help when necessary, but also is important build healthier spaces at work, have attention to self-care, ensuring adequate rest, practice of physical exercises, relaxation and leisure. It’s essential to establish an appropriate balance between work and personal/social life.

As an institution, it is fundamental to establish and maintain a healthy work environment, with actions such as redefining and reorganizing work processes, engaging professionals, improving communication, collaboration and professional recognition.

What about rethink and reorganize your professional life?

You can also read about this topic at:


Martins LF, Laport TJ, Menezes VP, Medeiros PB, Ronzani TM. Burnout Syndrome in Primary Health Care Professionals. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva. 2014, 19(12):4939-50

Pêgo FPL, Pêgo DR. Síndrome de Burnout: revisão de literatura. Rev Bras Med Trab. 2016;14(2):171-6

Moss M, Good VS, Gozal D, Kleinpell R, Sessles CN. An official critical care societies collaborative statement: burnout syndrome in critical care health care professionals: a call for action. Am Journal of Crit Care. 2016, 25(4)

García-Campayo J, Puebla-Guedea M, Herrera-Mercadal P, Daudén E. Desmotivación del personal sanitario y síndrome de burnout. Control de las situaciones de tensión. La importancia del trabajo en equipo. Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2016;107:400-406

Silva SCPS, Nunes MAP, Santana VR, Reis FP, Neto JM, Lima SO. Burnout syndrome in professionals of the primary healthcare network in Aracaju, Brazil. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva.2015, 20(10):3011-3020

Cultura E Tal:

The Baker's Wife (1938)

O filme é baseado em um livro de Jean Giono, um doce conto pastoral, sobre um padeiro que fica pertur-bado quando sua esposa o deixa.

O padeiro então passa-se a recusar a fornecer pão à aldeia até ela voltar para ele.