Burnout occurs in up to 75% of resident physicians. Our study objectives were to: (1) determine the prevalence of burnout, and (2) examine the association between burnout and self-reported patient care attitudes and behaviors among pediatric residents.
A total of 258 residents (53% response rate) from 11 pediatric residency programs completed a cross-sectional Web-based survey. Burnout was measured with 2 items from the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Patient care attitudes and behaviors were measured with 7 questions from a standardized qualitative survey. χ2 and logistic regression tested the association between burnout and self-reported patient care attitudes and behavior.
A total of 39% of respondents (mean age, 29.4 years ± 2.3 SD; 79% female; 83% white; 35% postgraduate year [PGY] -1, 34% PGY-2, and 31% PGY-3), endorsed burnout. Residents with burnout had significantly greater odds (P < .01) of reporting suboptimal patient care attitudes and behaviors, including: discharging patients to make the service more manageable (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6–11.1), not fully discussing treatment options or answering questions (aOR 3.5; 95% CI, 1.7–7.1), making treatment or medication errors (aOR 7.1; 95% CI, 2.0–25.8), ignoring the social or personal impact of an illness (aOR 9.6; 95% CI, 3.2–28.9), and feeling guilty about how a patient was treated (aOR 6.0; 95% CI, 1.6–22.1).
Burnout is highly prevalent among pediatric residents and is associated with self-reported negative patient care attitudes and behaviors. Residency programs should develop interventions addressing burnout and its potential negative impact on patient care.