Associate Editor’s Message November 2021


Burned out on burnout? I’m not surprised. The discussion on burnout has reached a fever pitch over the last two years as professionals in all fields have struggled to adjust to the extraordinary challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Concern about burnout in pediatric cardiac intensive care, however, long predates the pandemic. Burnout was once the “elephant in the room,” difficult to discuss for fear of perceived weakness, but recent work has brought it to the forefront. In their 2019 survey of pediatric cardiac intensivists, David Werho and colleagues found that more than half of respondents reported feeling burned out in the last month, and almost as many felt overwhelmed. The survey identified institutional and individual factors associated with burnout as hours worked, interpersonal interactions, and availability of wellness services. Interestingly, 96% of this group still felt their work was meaningful.1 This study is a striking confirmation of what many of us might feel – our work is demanding, and the rates of burnout are high. Burnout contributes to poor provider health and higher turnover and may negatively impact patient outcomes. Because of this, robust, constructive, and multidisciplinary discussions on wellness and reducing burnout are vital to the PCICS mission.

I’m delighted to present just that in the Fall Edition of the PCICS Newsletter! We have an outstanding collection of editorials: Drs. Arene Butto and Lillian Su comment on the individual drivers of burnout and resilience, Louise Callow delivers a superb reflection on APP burnout and an arsenal of mitigation strategies, and Drs. Craig Futterman and Sarah Tabbutt weigh in with a set of pro/con editorials regarding overnight calls after age 60.

We also have several committee updates and an executive message from the PCICS Treasurer, Lindsey Justice, after last month’s successful 25th Annual International PCICS Meeting. I watched parts of the meeting from a conference room during a bustling service week. Watching with my colleagues (and tweeting, my first ever tweets by the way, for the social media committee) reinforced what protects us from falling into the snare of burnout – fun, supportive co-workers, interacting with them near and far, hope for the future through spirited discussion of cutting-edge science, and a funny tweet or two. Remember, our work is meaningful. Congratulations to the program committee and to PCICS for reminding me why I got into this field in the first place.

  1. Werho, DK et al. Wellness in Pediatric Cardiac Intensivists – How are We Doing? Circulation. 2020;142:A1612.

Felina Mille, MD

Associate Editor, PCICS Newsletter
Cardiac Intensivist, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA, USA