Association between sick leave prescribing practices and physician burnout and empathy

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Abstract

Objectives To investigate the association between sick leave prescription and physician burnout and empathy in a primary care health district in Lleida, Spain. Methods This descriptive study included 108 primary care doctors from 22 primary care centers in Lleida in 2014 (183,600 patients). Burnout was measured with the Maslach Burnout Inventory and empathy with the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy. The reliability of the instruments was measured by calculating Cronbach's alpha and normal distribution was analyzed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov-Lilliefors and ÷2 tests. Burnout and empathy scores were analyzed by age, sex, and place of work (urban vs rural). Sick leave data were obtained from the Catalan Health Institute. Results High empathy was significantly associated with low burnout. Neither empathy nor burnout were significantly associated with sick leave prescription. Conclusion Sick leave prescription by physicians is not associated with physicians' empathy or burnout and may mostly depend on prescribing guidelines.

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Torres, O. Y., Areste, M. E., Mora, J. R. M., & Soler-Gonzalez, J. (2015). Association between sick leave prescribing practices and physician burnout and empathy. PLoS ONE, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0133379

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