Pediatric residency, required for board certification to become a pediatrician, is a stressful time of intense on-the-job training, working weekends and long hours for medical school graduates. Perhaps it’s not surprising that over 50% of pediatric residents reported burnout—a combination of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and lack of personal accomplishment—in a new study, “Burnout in Pediatric Residents: Three Years of National Survey Data,” in the January 2020 Pediatrics. Using the Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey, researchers for the study, which is published online on Dec. 16, surveyed 2,723 pediatric residents in 34 programs in 2016, 3,273 residents from 43 programs in 2017, and 3,657 residents from 49 programs in 2018 and found burnout exceeded 50% in all three years. Researchers found that the pediatric residents surveyed who reported burnout had significantly dissatisfaction with work-life balance, having made a medical error recently, more sleepiness, and higher stress. The surveys also indicate factors that were consistently associated with lower risk: empathy, self-compassion, quality of life, and confidence in providing compassionate care. Researchers concluded that solutions to resident burnout are possible through interventions during stressful rotations and following a major medical error and that time off over weekends and individual training in sleep, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion are needed, but that more studies are needed to address broader factors affecting burnout.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.