Professionalism & Leadership

Paper: Research Abstract

Burnout among Health Information Professionals: Elevating the Issue to Inspire Change

Monday, May 6
2:35 PM - 2:50 PM
Room: Columbus IJ (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

To obtain data on how many health information professionals meet the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory criteria and how many feel they are burned out or close to burning out despite survey results. This study also seeks to determine which category of health information professionals are facing the highest risk of burnout and what is being done to combat or prevent burnout.

METHODS: Potential study participants were contacted via various medical and special library listservs. Participation was limited to health science information professionals, including paraprofessionals. Using SurveyMonkey, study participants first completed a modified version of the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) and then were asked about their general experiences with burnout, what, if anything, they are doing to relieve stress or prevent burnout, and demographic questions to quantify their results with others in similar settings, age ranges, and experience levels.

RESULTS: 497 responses were recorded. Of these, 41 respondents did not complete enough of the survey to be counted, bringing the total number of usable surveys to 456. 179 participants reported an overall level of burnout. Using average CBI scores, we determined that 117 of those reporting burnout had scores suggested at least a moderate level of burnout. 41.88% of these scored at the significant level of burnout or higher. 5 participants or 1.14% reported not feeling burned out scored at the moderate or significant level in the CBI. Of those scoring at least moderate in the CBI (n=143), 52.45% were from an academic environment and 62.22% had 15 or less years of experience. The participants with the highest CBI averages (n=26) had very little in common among their reasons for burnout or demographics.

CONCLUSIONS: Are health information professionals burned out? Research shows that burnout has been a theme in librarianship literature since the early 1980s. Public, academic, school, and special library journals have published articles on recognizing signs of burnout, preventing burnout in the workplace, and ways to combat burnout in librarians and information professionals. However, there is limited research to determine the number of librarians and information professionals experiencing burnout. This study helps to determine the level of burnout health information professionals are experiencing, and in the future, may help librarians and other information professionals find ways to prevent burnout.


Angela Spencer, AHIP

Manager, Medical Library
St. Lukes Hospital
Chesterfield, Missouri

Angela Spencer, MLS, AHIP
Manager of the Medical Library
St. Luke's Hospital - St. Louis MO

Hospital librarian working to promote research and advocacy for solo or hospital librarians.

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Elizabeth Laera, AHIP

Medical Librarian
Brookwood Baptist Health
Birmingham, Alabama

Elizabeth Laera, AHIP, is the solo librarian at Princeton Baptist Medical Center, the flagship of central Alabama’s largest community health system, Brookwood Baptist Health. She is the outgoing chair of MLA's Education Steering Committee as well as the incoming chair-elect of the Hospital Libraries Section. Ms. Laera's research includes burnout in librarianship, communicating with hospital administrators via hard data, and the librarian's role in diagnosing difficult cases. She has published papers on clinical librarianship and the demographics of solo health science librarians, and serves as a technology column editor for The Journal of Hospital Librarianship.

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