Background:Burnout is a serious problem faced by staff working in oncology and palliative care. Meaning in life can be a protective factor, leading to more satisfaction in work and less burnout. There is little research in developing countries like India on the prevalence of burnout and its association with meaning in life in volunteers working in palliative care.
Aim: Our study aims to detect the presence and level of burnout, the meaning in life and the association of burnout with meaning in life in volunteers working in palliative care clinic in a tertiary care oncology centre in a developing country.
Methods: In a cross sectional questionnaire survey, consenting volunteers working in palliative care clinic in a tertiary care cancer centre completed forms for demographic and experience related information, Professional Quality of Life Scale and Meaning in Life Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics for age group, years of experience, presence and degree of burnout, and meaning in life and chi square tests to look for association between meaning in life and burnout were used.
Results: 10 of 20 volunteers returned the questionnaires. Five participants were above 50 years of age. Six participants had worked more than 5 years in palliative care department. 6 participants had high scores (above 24) on Presence of Meaning component and only 2 had high scores on both Presence of Meaning and Search for Meaning components in Meaning in Life Questionnaire. All ten participants had low burnout scores. There was no significant association observed between meaning in life and burnout.
Conclusions: All participants in our study had low levels of burnout. Majority believed that there was a definite meaning in their life and followed a purpose, although this was not significantly associated with burnout.