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Study: More than half of pediatric residents experience burnout :

December 16, 2019

For three consecutive years, more than half of pediatric residents experienced burnout, a new study found.

Researchers from the Pediatric Resident Burnout-Resilience Study Consortium surveyed a large national sample of residents to look more closely at these rates as well as risk and protective factors.

The study included an average of 42 residency programs a year from 2016-’18. In addition to burnout, residents answered questions about demographics, their program, work/life balance, support system and learning environment.

The data showed burnout rates were 56% in 2016 and 54% in 2017 and 2018, according to “Burnout in Pediatric Residents: Three Years of National Survey Data,” (Kemper KJ, et al. Pediatrics. Dec. 16, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-1030).

Demographics and program characteristics did not consistently play a role. However, stress, sleepiness, dissatisfaction with work/life balance and recently having made a major error were associated with increased burnout risk in all three years. Four factors also appeared to be protective in each year — empathy, self-compassion, quality of life and confidence in providing compassionate care.

Authors stressed the importance of interventions for residents during stressful rotations, making sure residents have time off and training them on ways to prevent burnout.

“The high burnout rate among pediatric residents must be addressed,” Jeanine C. Ronan, M.D., M.S., M.S.Ed. FAAP, wrote in a related commentary. “A comprehensive approach would include developing evidence-based training in mindfulness and coping techniques for the individual resident, an institutional approach to improve resident engagement and increase joy in the workplace, and the availability of mental health services when needed to address both urgent and chronic concerns.”

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