Scholarly Project 314B
Paul Bell, PhD, Jeuniece Sampson, MD, Tam Tran, MD
Occupational burnout is common among physicians, including those in training. The negative effects of burnout not only impact the physician, but also diminish patient care and safety. Medical residency training guidelines mandate that programs include a wellness curriculum aimed at preventing burnout and building resiliency in physicians. However, evidence-based recommendations for developing wellness curricula are still emerging. The present study attempted to increase knowledge associated with physician wellness by surveying graduates of a family medicine residency program. Participants rated a range of factors associated with residency training regarding how they contributed to burnout and resiliency. Results of the study indicated that fatigue, bureaucratic tasks, and the electronic record were the most common factors contributing to burnout. Factors identified to build resiliency included having opportunities to pursue interests outside of medicine, social support in and outside the program, and mentoring and modeling from program faculty. Other influences on resiliency were meeting difficult demands, developing knowledge and skills, and balancing professional and personal responsibilities. Most factors found to cause burnout during residency did not promote later resiliency; however, 40% of the respondents found that at least one aspect of training met this description. The first year of residency appears to be most commonly associated with burnout. Prevalence of burnout at a given time across training years was suggested to be 18% or three to four residents in an 18-position program. Despite a number of limitations, the results of the study could guide programs in promoting wellness in the next generation of physicians.