More than half of pediatric residents meet criteria for burnout

1. Survey data from a large national sample of pediatric residents in 2016-2018 showed that more than half met criteria for burnout.

2. Burnout was not significantly associated with any demographic or residency characteristics. Factors significantly associated with an increased risk for burnout included perceived stress, sleepiness, having made a recent medical error, and being dissatisfied with work-life balance.

Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average)

Study Rundown: Physician burnout is associated with decreased quality of care, lower satisfaction with care, higher substance abuse, and increased risk for suicide. Most studies assessing resident physician burnout have been limited by lack of a national sample, sequential assessments, and exploration of risk and protective factors. In this study, researchers surveyed thousands of pediatric residents on a variety of demographic, residency, and physical and mental health characteristics in 2016-2018. The majority of residents surveyed met criteria for burnout. There were no demographic or residency characteristics that were consistently significantly associated with burnout. Perceived stress, sleepiness, having made a recent medical error, and being dissatisfied with work-life balance were significantly associated with increased risk for burnout. Reported empathy, self-compassion, overall quality of life, and confidence in providing compassionate care were associated with decreased risk for burnout.

These findings are limited by reliance on voluntary survey and self-report. Furthermore, previously studied factors that may contribute to burnout, such as harassment, discrimination, and institutional factors were not assessed in this study. Nonetheless, the study is strengthened by its large, nationally comprehensive sample. For physicians, these findings highlight targetable protective and risk factors for resident burnout that may be addressed by program-level interventions.

Click to read the study, published today in Pediatrics

Relevant reading: Prevalence of Depression and Depressive Symptoms Among Resident Physicians: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

In-Depth [survey]: Researchers sent surveys assessing demographic characteristics, residency experiences, current physical and mental health, and measurements of burnout to all pediatric residents at 49 US residency programs in the Pediatric Resident Burnout and Resilience Study Consortium in 2016 to 2018. Burnout was defined as having high subscale scores for personal emotional exhaustion and/or depersonalization on the Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey. Linear and logistic regression models were used to predict factors associated with burnout.

More than 60% of the approximately 3000 eligible residents each year responded to the survey. The prevalence of burnout exceeded 50% in all 3 years. There were no consistently significant differences between residents meeting burnout criteria and those not meeting criteria for any demographic characteristics. There were significant differences in burnout by residency year and program size in some years, but not others. Residents who met criteria for burnout reported significantly worse mental health, more sleepiness, lower mindfulness and self-compassion scores, and lower levels of empathy and resilience (P < .001 for all). They also reported significantly less satisfaction with support from family, friends, spouse, faculty, and colleagues, The factors most associated with increased risk of burnout were perceived stress, sleepiness, having made a recent medical error, and being dissatisfied with work-life balance, whereas empathy, self-compassion, overall quality of life, and confidence in providing compassionate care were associated with decreased risk of burnout.

Image: PD

©2019 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. All rights reserved. No works may be reproduced without expressed written consent from 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. Inquire about licensing here. No article should be construed as medical advice and is not intended as such by the authors or by 2 Minute Medicine, Inc.