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Burnout Common Among Oral Health Professionals During COVID-19

A recent report by the Oral Health Workforce Research Center at the University at Albany Center for Health Workforce Studies in New York has shed light on the prevalence and effects of stress among oral health professionals working in nonprofit dental facilities serving disadvantaged populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic intensified burnout issues among healthcare professionals, including those in oral health, due to the risk of COVID-19 infection. The survey analyzed clinicians in 25 United States community health centers, revealing that 79.3% of oral health providers reported experiencing burnout, a rate comparable to primary care and mental/behavioral health clinicians. Organizational stressors included personal protective equipment shortages, changing clinical protocols, and workforce shortages, while individual-level stressors were often related to childcare. In response to these stressors, organizations implemented strategies to support staff work-life balance, such as providing more time off, extra pay, increased break time, and enhanced schedule flexibility for parents. Burnout and stress are concerning issues within the oral health workforce, with the report highlighting the importance of addressing these challenges to maintain staff well-being and improve patient safety during and beyond the pandemic. Click here to read more. 

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