Prevalence of burnout syndrome and its health effects among academic staff at the Kenya Medical Training College, Nairobi Campus
Muriungi, Susan K
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Background: Long period of work overload leads to chronic fatigue and stress, a precursor of burnout syndrome and consequent other health problems like psychological distress. Other personal or job related factors may also precipitate the development of burnout syndrome and other mental illnesses. Understanding the courses of these health problems among staff can allow an organisation's management to develop appropriate strategies to prevent or alleviate these problems. General Objective: The aims of carrying out this study were to determine the prevalence of and factors associated with burnout syndrome among the KMTC Nairobi Campus academic staff. The study also sought to determine the health effects of the burnout syndrome among the respondents Design and Setting: A cross-sectional sample survey that recruited a total population of all academic staff in all the 16 academic departments at KMTC Nairobi Campus. Methodology Three instruments were used which included a Social demographic (SDQ) questionnaire which the researcher developed. It collected information related to personal particulars; subject's duties, responsibilities and their work schedules. The Maslach burnout inventory (MBI) a patented instrument which is designed to assess the three aspects of burnout syndrome and the general health questionnaire (GHQ) which measures current burnout syndrome health effects exhibited by psychological distress. The researcher observed all ethical considerations and the self administered instruments were used to collect data. Data was analysed using SPSS version 14 utilising descriptive and inferential statistics. Results were presented in form of tables, bar charts, pie charts and narratives. Results: All lecturers at KMTC Nairobi Campus were found to have burnout syndrome; sixty 61.5% had high and 34.9% had average levels of burnout syndrome (p = 0.007). This contributed to the respondents developing other health problems where 16% had severe and 5.7% had some psychological distress respectively (p = 0.036). Eighty five percent (85%) of the respondents had emotional exhaustion (p=0.01). All the respondents had high levels of depersonalisation, and 67.6% had low levels of personal accomplishment indicative of low self evaluation (p=0.036). The highest risk factor for developing burnout syndrome was being an academic lecturer at KMTC, being over 41 years and having worked at KMTC for over 6 years (p=0.000), not taking annual leave (p= 0.001) and being married with 1-5 (p = 0.036). Other factor included; being married with the highest professional qualification of a diploma or higher diploma (p= 0.009), working more hours beyond normal (p = 0.023), absence of social support (p = 0.049) and undertaking studies as the respondents was on full time employment (p=0.029). The protective factors were working fewer hours beyond normal, being single, being male, not taking part time studies and taking annual leave. Presence of burnout syndrome was positively correlated to the development of psychological distress (p=0.0l). Conclusion: All academic lecturers at KMTC Nairobi campus had burnout syndrome; 65.1% had high while 34.9% had average levels of burnout; accepting the alternative hypothesis that Kenya Medical Training College academic staff suffer from high levels of burnout syndrome. The Prevalence of burnout syndrome among KMTC academic staff was higher than that found at KNH medical Practitioners and in developed countries in Europe and North America .. High levels of emotional exhaustion may lead to the lecturers impacting negatively on the students of whom they are expected to be role model. Presence of burnout syndrome was found to have health effects of psychological distress among the respondents. The high prevalence rates of burnout syndrome and psychological distress among the respondents greatly affects work performance. This was evidenced by respondent's absenteeism from work, frequent visits to the doctors and taking sick leave. This meant that the respondents were occasionally not at their places of work when they were meant to be.