Hawryluck and Brindley (2018) addressed the issue of burnout—a syndrome thought to be induced by job stress—among critical care medicine (CCM) practitioners. Although we agree that the practice of CCM can be stressful, relying on burnout as an indicator of the practitioners’ response to occupational adversity is unwarranted. Despite its popularity, burnout remains poorly defined. Disconcertingly, investigators have widely relied on the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) for “diagnosing” burnout in spite of the fact that the MBI is not a diagnostic instrument.Experiencing fatigue or distancing oneself from one’ work—what burnout is about—is not necessarily a sign of ill-being in itself. These problems make it impossible to arrive at a diagnosis and estimate burnout's prevalence.
Laurent, E., Schonfeld, I.S., Bianchi, R., Hawryluck, L., & Brindley, P.G. (2018). On the “bubble” of burnout's prevalence estimates. Intensive Care Medicine, 44, 544-545. doi:10.1007/s00134-018-5084-1.