Prevalence of Burnout Among Respiratory Therapists Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Respiratory care


2019-nCoV; washington; everett; prmc


Background: Burnout is a major challenge in health care, but its prevalence has not been evaluated in practicing respiratory therapist (RTs). The purpose of this study was to identify RT burnout prevalence and factors associated with RT burnout.Methods: An online survey was administered to 26 centers in the United States and between January and March 2021. Validated, quantitative, cross-sectional surveys were used to measure burnout and leadership domains. The survey was sent to department directors and distributed by the department directors to staff. Data analysis was descriptive and logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate risk factors, expressed as odds ratios (OR), for burnout.Results: The survey was distributed to 3,010 RTs, and the response rate was 37%. Seventy-nine percent of respondents reported burnout, 10% with severe, 32% with moderate, and 37% with mild burnout. Univariate analysis revealed those with burnout worked more hours per week, worked more hours per week in the ICU, primarily cared for adult patients, primarily delivered care via RT protocols, reported inadequate RT staffing, reported being unable to complete assigned work, were more frequently exposed to COVID-19, had a lower leadership score, and fewer had a positive view of leadership. Logistic regression revealed burnout climate (OR 9.38, p<0.001), inadequate RT staffing (OR 2.08 to 3.19, p=0.004 to 0.05), being unable to complete all work (OR 2.14 to 5.57, p=0.003 to 0.20), and missing work for any reason were associated with increased risk of burnout (OR 1.96, p=0.007). Not providing patient care (OR 0.18, p=0.02) and a positive leadership score (0.55, p=0.02) were associated with decreased risk of burnout. Conclusion: Burnout was common among RTs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Good leadership was protective against burnout while inadequate staffing, inability to complete work, and burnout climate were associated with burnout.

Clinical Institute

Mental Health


Pulmonary Medicine


Behavioral Health