How Perceived Burnout Alters Frontline Educators’ Assessments in the Clinical Learning Environment

Published:December 16, 2021DOI:



      This study explores frontline educators’ experience with learner burnout in the clinical learning environment (CLE) and how perceived burnout may impact assessment.


      A survey was sent to 105 Pediatric Hospital Medicine faculty and fellows at 7 sites across the United States representing diverse CLEs. They were invited to participate in an 11-question web-based survey that was developed, edited, and revised in step-wise fashion. It consisted of 5-point Likert scale, forced-choice, and dichotomous questions. Data from the web-based survey were compiled for descriptive purposes and analyzed for trends.


      The response rate was 53%. Most respondents (83%) perceive learner burnout at least once per year, but median comfort in identifying burnout was 3 (scale 1–5, 3 = neutral). Factors associated with comfort were education as primary niche (P = .01) and having wellness training (P = .045). In terms of the impact of perceived learner burnout impacts on assessment, 88% report impact on feedback sessions and 60% reported impact on summative assessment; most are more lenient. Stated belief in whether perceived burnout should or should not impact assessment had 60% sensitivity and 84% specificity in predicting whether it does.


      Frontline educators routinely perceive learner burnout in the CLE and it often impacts educators’ assessment of a learner. The discrepancy between the expected and actual impact may suggest amplification of known barriers to accurate assessment in the CLE. Comfort associated with wellness training suggests that interventions targeting frontline educators in the CLE may improve their ability to simultaneously support and assess learners.


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