Younger physicians and surgeons may be more susceptible to developing burnout, perhaps in part because they have not yet developed appropriate experience and coping mechanisms. Indeed, it is estimated that up to 50% of medical students exhibit signs or symptoms of burnout at some point in their undergraduate medical career (Bull Am Coll Surg. 2011;96:17-22). This may well carry into residency training, and might even be exacerbated by increased educational and clinical pressures and decreased personal recovery time. Residency training is a time of highly accelerated acquisition of knowledge and skills and includes challenges in time management and wide-ranging experiences. Particularly in the surgical specialties, each resident physician brings to the training experience an abundance of intellectual and technical skills, cultural and family experiences, biases and perspectives, and personality traits. For surgeons, a healthy dose of obsessive/compulsive behavior is felt to be necessary, with perfectionism often a goal, even when these behaviors can occasionally reap negative results.
One of the best studies performed to date on burnout in otolaryngology residents was a survey published in 2007 by Golub and colleagues (Acad Med. 2007;82:596-601). The survey results were based on the responses of 514 otolaryngology residents in the second through fifth years of training. The authors reported an 86% response rate for residents reporting moderate (76%) or high (10%) levels of burnout at some time during their residencies. Interestingly, high levels of personal accomplishment seemed to buffer or protect against burnout.| ← Previous | | | Next → | Single Page