Background: Burnout is a prominent feature in the military medical profession, and can affect the way
clinicians perform and provide care for patients. Furthermore, malingering on the part of soldiers has been found to negatively affect the clinician's professionalism. The relationship between clinician’s burnout and their perceptions of patients' malingering has yet to be examined in military medicine.
Methods: Data was collected using the Maslach Burnout Inventory questionnaire, answered by IDF medical personnel from the fields of: medicine, dentistry and nursing. A comparison was made between two burnout groups – high/ low. Demographic indicators affecting burnout were examined, as was the relationship between burnout level and clinicians' perceptions of patients' malingering.
Results: The study included 101 respondents, of whom 76 physicians, 17 dentists and 8 nurses. 56.4% of the respondents were with high burnout level. Factors contributing to reduced burnout: dentistry (p=0.001) and open base (p=0.011). Factors contributing to increased burnout: medicine (p=0.001), living on base (p=0.011), and low rank (p=0.003). Clinicians in the high burnout group felt that soldiers were unreliable (p=0.013), tended to spend less time on anamnesis (p=0.009), felt more disrespect from soldiers (p<0.001), and treated in a less professional manner (p<0.001).
Conclusions: High burnout characterizes army medical personnel, and is more prominent among physicians, doctors living on base, and those that are at the beginning of their military service. A correlation was found between burnout level and the intensity of perceived soldiers' malingering, and how these perceptions affected professional care
Keywords: attrition, initiation, military therapists, the IDF.