During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers not only had to manage how to treat a new disease but also had to increase their workload to keep up with the patients infected with the new virus. These physicians had to deal with an increase in patients and an increase in patient deaths. In addition, being a frontline worker meant that these physicians had more exposure to the virus than the general population. If they did contract the virus themselves, they had to go into quarantine, many times away from their families (Walton et al., 2020). A national survey done of physicians found that the level of very high distress was 15% (Adams et al., 2021). For those who were not working on the frontlines, COVID-19 restrictions prevented them from seeing patients. This led to patients with non-emergent conditions going undiagnosed for long periods of time and putting off necessary treatments (Drudi et al., 2021). These factors lead to multiple moral insults, increases in anxiety, depression, and occupational burnout. One study by Lou et al. (2022) found more distress and burnout during COVID-19 than before particularly due to emotional exhaustion. Another study done by Appiani et al. (2021) found that 73.5% of their 440 respondents reported burnout syndrome. Many hospitals and individual physicians took steps to combat this and improve wellness. Some implemented Schwartz rounds and some implemented Balint groups. Balint groups found improvement in burnout rates from three participants at the beginning of the study to zero participants by the end of the study (p = 0.03).
Salinas Domene, Cecilia, "Burnout and Wellness Strategies during the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2022). MEDI 9331 Scholarly Activities Clinical Years. 63.