Date of Award
Union College Only
Bachelor of Science
Burnout, Primary Care, COVID-19, Systematic Review
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly altered the work-lives of physicians, yet research has failed to describe how it has affected burnout in U.S. primary care physicians. In this thesis, I study burnout prevalence and contributing factors in U.S. primary care physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. I performed a systematic review of research on primary care physician burnout and the COVID-19 pandemic, then cross-referenced this review with qualitative interviews of primary care physicians. Burnout was found to be in high prevalence in two of its three dimensions, emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Main sources of emotional exhaustion included a changing work environment, increased workload, inefficiencies of telehealth, worse patient prognosis due to delayed care, and pandemic-related costs. Main sources of depersonalization included telehealth’s effects on workflow and ability to provide quality care to patients. Lack of personal achievement was worsened in some instances due to telehealth hindering the delivery of quality care, but in most instances, it improved due to increased feelings of purpose, pride, and camaraderie. Qualitative interviews echoed similar themes of increased emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, yet improved feelings of personal achievement. Recommendations include giving physicians more control over telehealth in their workflow and increasing access to healthy coping mechanisms. Targeting areas that induce the most significant stress and frustration can most effectively prevent and manage burnout in these physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
LeSage, Colin, "Physician Burnout and the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analysis of U.S. Primary Care Physicians" (2022). Honors Theses. 2580.