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Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care


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Promoting Wellbeing and Reducing the Risk of Burnout in Critical Care

A joint ICS/FICM/BACCN working group.

The ICS, along with partners, is leading some fantastic work promoting psychological wellbeing in Critical Care.

There is evidence that UK medical and nursing staff are experiencing high levels of work-related stress and burnout. 

Critical care offers challenges to personal balance and wellbeing. Concentrated prolonged engagement with patients and families, potential for poor outcomes, the need for complex decision-making, a 24/7 workload, and the ubiquity of moral distress are only a selection of these. 

On the other hand, there can be substantial rewards and protections such as teamwork and peer support, the privilege and challenge of working with seriously ill patients, and sometimes great treatment success.

Critical care also encompasses a complex mixed workforce: some work in close-knit teams, while others work in disparate groups and across multiple areas, and with less of the above support mechanisms. In short, each setting provides challenges and opportunities, and there may be no one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Psychological wellbeing is multi-faceted
  • In the workplace, it is influenced by individual differences (such as personality and coping style), job design, colleagues and team, management and leadership, and the wider organisation
  • Promoting psychological wellbeing is about the balance between positive factors or resources and negative factors or demands.
  • Burnout is one of the detrimental psychological effects of imbalance between workplace demands and resources.

The working group has produced a guide for clinicians - Promoting Psychological Wellbeing and Reducing the Risk of Burnout in Critical Care Staff: A psychological Understanding of Workplace Burnout

In addition to this work there have been a number of blogs and papers written on this topic which can be accessed via the website here.

As part of this work the ICS are currently inviting clinicians to complete an online survey about Burnout which can be accessed using the link below:



Article Published - 22/4/2018