Study: Mentoring, social events may decrease burnout in surgery residents


Burnout in surgery residents—associated with higher levels of depression and perceived stress—may be alleviated by programmatic social events, limiting weekend work and formal mentoring programs, a study published in the American Journal of Surgery found.

Matthew Smeds, MD, division chief of vascular surgery at St. Louis University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, et al used an anonymous electronic survey sent to surgical residents in 18 programs in order to identify factors associated with burnout.

They drilled into the issue with demographic/programmatic questions and validated scales for burnout, depression, perceived stress, self-efficacy and social support. Residents were grouped into quartiles based off burnout, and predictors were assessed using univariate and multivariate analyses, the investigators report.

They discovered that among the 42% of residents who completed the survey, burnout was associated with depression, higher perceived stress/debt, fewer weekends off and less programmatic social events. Residents were less likely to reconsider surgery if given the chance, Smeds et al add.

“Low burnout was associated with lower depression/stress, higher social support/self-efficacy, more weekends off per month, program mentorship, lower debt, and residents being more likely to choose surgery again if given the chance,” they write.

“On multivariate analysis, higher depression/perceived stress were associated with burnout, and lower burnout scores were associated with lower stress/higher self-efficacy.”

Concluding, they note, “The addition of programmatic social events, limiting weekend work, and formal mentoring programs may decrease burnout.”



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