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[Burnout and executive functions in Palliative Care health professionals: influence of burnout on decision making]. / Burnout y funciones ejecutivas en personal sanitario de Cuidados Paliativos: influencia del desgaste profesional sobre la toma de decisiones.

Fernández-Sánchez, J C; Pérez-Mármol, J M; Santos-Ruiz, A M; Pérez-García, M; Peralta-Ramírez, M I.
An Sist Sanit Navar ; 41(2): 171-180, 2018 Aug 29.
Artigo em Espanhol | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30063034


Health professionals show a high prevalence of burnout syndrome. This syndrome could be involved in the alteration of higher cognitive functions in the clinical setting. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether burnout is related to the executive functions of inhibition, working memory, decision-making, and cognitive flexibility in palliative care health professionals.


Degree of burnout was evaluated in seventy-seven health professionals from palliative care units by the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI-HSS), while executive functions were evaluated by Stroop test (inhibition), Letter-Number Sequencing (working memory), Iowa Gambling Task (decision-making) and Trail Making Test (cognitive flexibility). The total sample was classified in relation to both degree of burnout (low, medium, high) in each subscale of MBI-HSS (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment), and the number of dimensions altered (high levels in none, one or more than one).


Burnout syndrome was present in 54.5% of palliative care health professionals, 15.6% of them with more than one dimension altered; these professionals showed significantly lower scores than professionals without burnout in the Stroop test, the Letter-Number Sequencing and the Iowa Gambling Task. Higher levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were associated with significantly lower scores in the Iowa Gambling Task for assessing decision-making.


The results showed that palliative care health professionals with a higher level of burnout have an alteration of inhibition, working memory and decision-making. These executive functions can be relevant in the clinical setting since they could be related to the cognitive thinking required for correct clinical reasoning by health professionals.
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