The Science of Health Care Worker Burnout: Assessing and Improving Health Care Worker Well-Being.

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Problems with health care worker (HCW) well-being have become a leading concern in medicine given their severity and robust links to outcomes like medical error, mortality, and turnover.


To describe the state of the science regarding HCW well-being, including how it is measured, what outcomes it predicts, and what institutional and individual interventions appear to reduce it.

Data sources.—

Peer review articles as well as multiple large data sets collected within our own research team are used to describe the nature of burnout, associations with institutional resources, and individual tools to improve well-being.


Rates of HCW burnout are alarmingly high, placing the health and safety of patients and HCWs at risk. To help address the urgent need to help HCWs, we summarize some of the most promising early interventions, and point toward future research that uses standardized metrics to evaluate interventions (with a focus on low-cost institutional and personal interventions).





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Rehder, Kyle, Kathryn C Adair and J Bryan Sexton (2021). The Science of Health Care Worker Burnout: Assessing and Improving Health Care Worker Well-Being. Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine, 145(9). pp. 1095–1109. 10.5858/arpa.2020-0557-ra Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Kyle Jason Rehder

Dr. Glenn A. Kiser and Eltha Muriel Kiser Professor of Pediatrics

Mechanical Ventilation, ECMO, Patient Safety and Quality, Communication, Education


John Bryan Sexton

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Bryan is the Director of the Duke Center for the Advancement of Well-being Science.  He leads the efforts around research, training and coaching, guiding quality improvement and well-being activities.  


A psychologist member of the Department of Psychiatry, Bryan is a psychometrician and spends time developing methods of assessing and improving safety culture, teamwork, leadership and especially work-force well-being.  Currently, he is disseminating the results from a successful NIH R01 grant that used RCTs to show that we can cause enduring improvements in healthcare worker well-being. 


A perpetually recovering father of four, he enjoys running, using hand tools on wood, books on Audible, and hearing particularly good explanations of extremely complicated topics.

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