An NHS Doctor’s Lived Experience of Burnout during the First Wave of Covid-19

Sara Chaudhry, Emily Yarrow, Maryam Aldossari, Elizabeth Waterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article offers the lived experiences of an NHS doctor working on the front line in an English NHS Trust during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The overall aim of the article is to offer a context-specific perspective on the employee experience of burnout by drawing out the interplay of organisational and external/socio-political factors during an atypical time. The narrative also highlights an as yet unexplored pattern of burnout with active maintenance of professional efficacy as the starting point which then interacts with high levels of work intensification prevalent in the NHS, leading to the coping mechanisms of depersonalisation and detachment. Existing research has predominantly focused on how/why employees experience burnout at the organisational level of analysis, leaving a gap in the literature on how external/socio-political and time contexts may impact employee burnout.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1143
Number of pages11
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number6
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (


  • Covid-19
  • NHS
  • burnout
  • pandemic
  • professional efficacy


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