Burnout education, normatives and digital tools for European Universities

Project: Research

Project Details


Project Reference No.: BENDiT-EU KA 203 05-03-2021
Funding Agency: EU
Programme: ERASMUS +

Extensive scientific literature highlights that healthcare professionals’ work is relentlessly overloaded and emotionally overwhelming, influencing their personal lives, and thus, favouring burnout development. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is the final outcome of continuous workplace stress that has not been managed efficiently. In the context of the global extension of burnout in health care and of its introduction in the 11th revised edition of the International Classification of Diseases, it has become a matter of urgency to address this issue in a timely and effective manner. For medical and health allied fields, the proper time for prevention is throughout university years, for two main reasons. Firstly, burnout may occur quite early during the university studies and can develop up to a cumulative prevalence ranging from 44.2% (Frajerman et al., 2019) to 75% (Erschens et al., 2019). Secondly, when starting a new career, the development of personal skills to prevent burnout in physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, and other health allied professionals may be decisive for proper management of professional stress, which in turn, can be reflected in a better quality of care.


The aim of our project is to prepare a comprehensive set of resources that will address the issue of burnout in health and health allied universities at three distinct levels: organizational (IO4), collective (IO3) and individual (IO2), including all stakeholders (IO1).


In the BENDiT-EU project, based on our triple approach mentioned above, we target: a) the INDIVIDUAL level: medical and allied health students in 5 partner countries (Romania, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Bulgaria); b) the COLLECTIVE level: support staff who work in the 5 BENDiT-EU medical universities; this includes teaching staff who might have an intensive supervising role (mentors, tutors, advisers, etc.), staff working in psychological counselling for students, and staff working in other services aimed at providing different forms of support to students; and c) the ORGANISATIONAL level: representatives of governing bodies, responsible with policymaking at the university level.


1) RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT BURNOUT (IO1): we will start with a comprehensive search of literature for evidence of effective interventions regarding academic burnout prevention and synthesize the information in a very accessible format, specifically a Burnout Manual - pocket edition. We selected this format (similar to medical pocket guides, to which health professionals are used) considering that accessibility is important for conveying our key messages on a wide scale, and also on the
premise that (a) burnout prevention can become a daily habit and (b) self-treatment is easily available.

2) DEVELOP ONLINE TOOLS (IO2): based on IO1, we will develop a web-based application that will offer students the possibility to self-assess burnout and, based on their results, to receive counselling and suggestions for further reading, training or other forms of skills development in preventing or addressing burnout.

3) CREATE A BURNOUT CURRICULUM (IO3): as a complement to the online web-application, a five day, face to face, experiential research-based program for students and a short training program for support staff will be implemented in partner universities.

4) DRIVE POLICY CHANGES (IO4): a policy toolkit to support decision-makers in universities will also be developed by using consensus-making methods (such as a Delphi approach). The toolkit will summarize best practices on an international level and will provide a set of measures that medical and health allied universities could implement, in order to decrease student burnout. We expect that around 5000 students and staff from medical partner universities will be involved in our project through one or more of the IOs.


The highly comprehensive approach we are employing for BENDiT-EU project has the potential cumulative advantage of a multi-layered intervention. By addressing all levels where burnout can be efficiently managed (i.e. individual, collective, and organizational), we increase the chances of a potential large scale effect, occurring throughout the project in partner universities. This effect could be reached also at the European level, when making available to other countries or academic structures the BENDiT-EU package, i.e. the Burnout manual - pocket edition, the web-based application for students, the experiential training curriculum for students and the train-the-trainer guide for support staff, as well as a policy toolkit for the decision-makers. As burnout may generate huge societal costs and impact the quality of life of many people, we hope that our project could contribute to fighting this phenomenon in a timely and efficient manner.

The partners in the project are the following:
• Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy
• National School of Public Health, Management, and Professional Development
• Vitale Tecnologie Comunicazione – VITECO SRL
• Trakia University
• Cofac Cooperativa De Formacao e Animacao, Cultural CRL
• Universidad De Murcia
• University of Nicosia

The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Effective start/end date1/12/2030/05/23


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