Severn, Searchfield, and Huggard (2012) report that occupational stress occurs when the work environment produces negative psychological and physiological effects. “Burnout” and “compassion fatigue” are well-known negative consequences of clinical work. Burnout results in exhaustion, reduced personal and professional accomplishment, hopelessness, disconnectedness, and difficulty dealing with and effectively engaging in work. Compassion fatigue results from witnessing or knowing the difficulties and trauma experienced by others.
The authors mailed 145 questionnaires to audiologists in New Zealand and 82 were completed (56.5 percent response rate). Six stress factors dominate clinical audiology: (1) time demand (the single highest stress factor), (2) audiological management (such as not enough audiologists for the workload and feeling undervalued via low levels of remuneration, ineffective representation…), (3) patient contact, (4) clinical protocol, (5) patient accountability, (6) administration and equipment.
The authors note that audiology (in general) has a low prevalence of burnout and low levels of compassion fatigue, and reduced compassion satisfaction. However, as the audiologist’s age increases, so too, does the correlation with “burnout.” Further, as was determined previously in other studies, audiologists with the highest stress levels were those in the public hospitals.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Severn MS, Searchfield GD, Huggard P. (2012) Occupational Stress Amongst Audiologists- Compassion Satisfaction, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. International Journal of Audiology 51:3–9.