Among emergency medicine residents, 76.1% reported symptoms of burnout, similar to the rate of burnout experienced by emergency medicine physicians, according to a study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Researchers created the cross-sectional 2017 National Emergency Medicine Resident Wellness Survey to evaluate the burnout rates of emergency medicine residents across the United States. The self-administered online survey was administered by Academic Life in Emergency Medicine’s Wellness Think Tank and included the Maslach Burnout Inventory–Human Services Survey to assess emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. Burnout was defined as high emotional exhaustion or high depersonalization.

The 1522 responding residents came from 193 residency programs (57.8% men). As a whole, 76.1% (95% CI, 74%-78.3%) of the residents experienced burnout. Responding residents in the second year of their program had an adjusted odds ratio of 1.7 (95% CI, 1.1-2.8) for burnout and residents in their third year of their program had an adjusted odds ratio of 2.0 (95% CI, 1.2-3.2) for burnout when compared with residents in the first year of their program.

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Limitations of this study include the chance for generalizability, nonresponse bias, and sample bias due to the survey-based approach.

The researchers concluded that among responding emergency residents, “76.1% met criteria for burnout. Burnout within the emergency medicine specialty seems to begin as early as residency training, although [program year] 1 residents seem less burned out. Our results provide baseline data that can inform and allow objective evaluation of future individual-, programmatic-, and systems-level burnout prevention interventions.”

Reference

Lin M, Battaglioli N, Melamed M, Mott SE, Chung AS, Robinson DW. High prevalence of burnout among US emergency medicine residents: results from the 2017 National Emergency Medicine Wellness Survey [published online March 14, 2019]. Ann Emerg Med. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.01.037