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New York, May 17 : Cardiovascular clinicians experienced a 38 per cent burnout as the coronavirus pandemic increased, according to a survey.

Among all cardiovascular clinicians -- cardiologists, physician's assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and imaging technologists -- half provided direct care to patients with Covid-19, and yet one out of five reported not having adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). The rate of burnout was higher in this group.

The reasons for high burnout rate across all members of the cardiology team may be because they were more likely at the bedside as patients were dying, the researchers said.

"We know from previous studies that burnout is pervasive in cardiology and medicine in general, but we felt it was important to take the temperature of our colleagues amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The prevalence of burnout among cardiovascular professionals nearly doubled when comparing pre- to peak Covid-19 levels," said lead author Laxmi Mehta, from the Department of Internal Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

"It clearly shows that there are lots of opportunities to improve the work environment; Covid-19 has really put a magnifying glass on the fact that things were bad and now have significantly worsened," she added.

The survey revealed that some cardiovascular clinicians are thinking about leaving their jobs, in some cases, because of Covid-19. Plans to reduce clinical work hours in the next year, leave their current practice or retire early were reported by 23 per cent, 13 per cent and 13 per cent of respondents, respectively, and notably higher among those who reported feeling burnt out.

The survey also revealed financial stressors exacerbated by Covid-19, with 41 per cent of respondents reporting that their salary had been reduced to some degree.

The survey on burnout was sent via email in November 2020 to 10,019 cardiologists, fellows-in-training and cardiovascular team members. A total of 1,288 people responded to the survey (456 US and 436 international cardiologists, 128 trainees and 268 cardiovascular team members).

The results were presented at the American College of Cardiology's 70th Annual Scientific Session.

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