From Dedication to Burnout to Turnover: The Cry for Help from Doctors Who've Resigned or Retired during the COVID-19 Pandemic


Ergur G. A. , Nuhoglu S., Cobanoglu C., Cetin N., Bostan P., ERGUR A.

ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI SOSYOLOJI DERGISI-ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, vol.41, no.1, pp.73-102, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/sj.2021.41.1.0078
  • Title of Journal : ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI SOSYOLOJI DERGISI-ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
  • Page Numbers: pp.73-102
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemic, Leave of employment, Anomie, Resignation, Retirement, Burnout, Mobbing

Abstract

In the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible work schedules were terminated in June 2020, normalization practices were initiated, and resignation/ retirement bans on healthcare workers were lifted. This study aims to evaluate the decisions of doctors who've resigned or retired during the COVID-19 pandemic from a sociological perspective. This qualitative research was conducted online using the semi-structured face-to-face interview technique with physician interviewees. Of the interviewees (M-age = 50.9 years), 9 had resigned and 10 had decided to retire. When coding the interview statements, the factors affecting the decision to leave employment were investigated such as organizational problems, managerial approaches, the conditions for cognizance in performing and understanding the profession, personality traits, and approaches in their immediate environment. During the pandemic, healthcare workers' acts of resigning or retiring have been explained through the fear of being infected/infecting someone else, problems in the health system, intense work conditions, and feeling burned out due to not knowing how long the process will take. In the context of the crisis as an anomie in which the individual loses faith in society and social solidarity dissolves, the main factors setting the basis for leaving work have been identified as unfair distribution of tasks, organizational disorders, ambiguity regarding the concept of responsibility due to uncertainty, collegiate behaviors that shirk duty, lack of appreciation, and personality traits. The imbalance in exchange with society has led individuals to choose to give themselves the rewards that they are unable to get from others. This research performs a kind of autopsy to understand the factors behind cases of resignation and retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic and what needs to be done to prevent this from turning into a contagion turnover.