An Assessment of the Well-Being of Physicians Working in a Family Physician s Team During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Lithuania

Research Article

J Fam Med. 2022; 9(4): 1298.

An Assessment of the Well-Being of Physicians Working in a Family Physician’s Team During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Lithuania

Budrevičiute A1*, Raila G2, Paukštaitiene R3 and Valius L4

1Chief Researcher of the Biomedical Study “Challenges of COVID-19 in Family Medicine”, Lithuania

2Department of Family Medicine, Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kauno Klinikos, Kaunas, Lithuania

3Associoate Professor, Department of Physics, Mathematics, and Biophysics, Lithuanian University of ealth Sciences, Medical Academy, Kaunas, Lithuania

4Department of Family Medicine, Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kauno Klinikos, Kaunas, Lithuania

*Corresponding author: Aida Budrevičiute, Chief Researcher of the Biomedical Study “Challenges of COVID-19 in Family Medicine”, Lithuania

Received: March 09, 2022; Accepted: March 29, 2022; Published: April 05, 2022


Purpose: Improving the well-being of physicians and the level of trust in their work are key aspects in ensuring their motivation and satisfaction during the anxious and uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study is to investigate the links between different dimensions of the well-being of physicians during the pandemic.

Methods: An anonymous survey of physicians (n=191) working in a family physician’s team was carried out from June 21, 2021 to September 17, 2021. The data analysis involved the X2 homogeneity criterion with Yates correction, the Mann-Whitney criterion, and the Kruskal-Wallis criterion.

Results: The majority of physicians indicated the following issues: concern about the pandemic (91.1%); a decrease in their quality of life as a result of the pandemic (83.3%); professional burnout (75.7%); and dissatisfaction with the management of the pandemic (55%). It was observed that the duration of employment in their current institution is related to the physicians’ emotional well-being, quality of life, professional burnout, and satisfaction. Emotional wellbeing was found to depend on the form of ownership of their current health care institution. Quality of life and professional burnout were found to be dependent on the respondent’s number of years of work experience, whilst their assessment of personal well-being was dependent on the respondent’s age and gender.

Conclusions: Physicians’ assessment of their well-being depends on certain sociodemographic characteristics. In critical situations, intervention measures for improving their well-being should focus on improving emotional well-being and quality of life, reducing the occurrence of professional burnout, and increasing satisfaction.

Keywords: Primary health care; Family medicine; COVID-19 pandemic; Well-being; Lithuania


During the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians were concerned about: the impact of the virus on their patients, maintaining adequate provision of services, the lack of defined work functions, the safety of their family and co-workers, vaccination priorities, the supply of personal protective equipment, and communication between institutions in the health care sector [1]. Physicians were unprepared for the spread of the virus, wearing personal protective equipment, and managing information about the pandemic [2]. During the pandemic, physicians felt most overwhelmed by constantly changing legislation, chaotic vaccination priorities, dissatisfied patients, increased workload, technological solutions to service provision, excess bureaucracy, and a lack of clarity and definition in the organization of their work [3]. In the broadest sense, well-being describes the state and quality of a person’s life, and is frequently analyzed across six groups of dimensions: mental well-being, social well-being, physical well-being, spiritual well-being, activities and functioning, and personal circumstances [4]. In the context of this study, the dimensions of well-being of physicians include emotional well-being and quality of life. The reasons behind professional burnout in the health care sector often stem from the work itself, and include: increased workload, long hours, administrative duties, poor work-life balance, lack of collaborative behaviour among co-workers, loss of autonomy, and poor leadership [5]. This study approaches the effect of pandemic-related challenges on the well-being of physicians based on their dissatisfaction with the management of the current situation, and the consequent increase in risk of professional burnout. The aim of this study is to investigate the opinion of physicians working in a family physician’s team regarding their own well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Study population

According to the data provided by the Institute of Hygiene, 1,903 family physicians and 238 internal medicine specialists were employed by primary health care institutions (PHCIs) and care homes at the end 2020. Of the physicians working as part of a family physician’s team, 15% were male and 85% were female. Most male physicians were aged 51-60, and most females were aged 61-70. The largest group of the study population was aged 61-70 (33%), whilst the smallest were 71 years and older (7%).

The criteria for sample selection

Sample size was representative of the age, gender, and distribution of physicians in different counties in Lithuania. The 50/50 principle was applied when selecting respondents to ensure the participation of physicians from both public and private PHCIs.

The pilot study

A pilot study was conducted on 21-30 June 2021, and involved 13 physicians: 3 from public PHCIs, 9 from private PCHIs, and 1 physician who worked in both public and private PHCIs. These findings were used to improve the study questionnaire.

Implementation of the qualitative study

Invitations to participate in the study were distributed among PHCI managers and administrators via email. Having agreed to participate, the respondents were then provided with informed consent forms and the study questionnaires, which were collected 1-8 weeks later and forwarded to the lead researcher.

The characteristics of the sample size

A qualitative study was conducted from 21 June 2021 to 17 September 2021, and a total of 398 questionnaires were sent out. Of these, 191 completed questionnaires were used for analysis and 4 were invalid, resulting in a response rate of 48%. The questionnaires were completed by 9% of the sample population. Of the 39 PHCIs randomly selected for the study, 11 were public and 28 were private. The respondents were distributed as follows: 31% were employed by a private PHCI; 63% were employed by a public PHCI; and 6% were employed by both public and private PHCIs. Of the 191 respondents, 169 (88.5%) were city-based and 22 (11.5%) resided in rural areas; 161 (84.3%) were female and 30 (15.7%) were male.

The study model

The researchers developed a study model encompassing the impact of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of physicians (emotional well-being and quality of life) and the impact of the pandemic on physicians’ dissatisfaction and professional burnout (Figure 1).