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October/November 2011 (vol. 08/3)

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Research Plus

Burnout in junior doctors

A large-scale study of US internal medicine residents (equivalent to foundation doctors in the UK) found high levels of burnout, low quality of life (QOL) and emotional exhaustion, and significant negative associations with educational debt. The study included three-quarters of all US medical residents in the 2008–09 academic year (n = 16,394). One-third of the physicians were dissatisfied with their work–life balance and 15% reported poor QOL. Symptoms of emotional exhaustion at least weekly were reported by 45% of physicians, while 29% reported at-least weekly symptoms of depersonalisation. More than half (51%) reported one or more symptoms of burnout. There was a significant negative effect of educational debt on both poor QOL and burnout (‘moonlighting’ did not explain the effects). Low QOL, emotional exhaustion, and educational debt were all associated with lower IM-ITE scores (a standardised measure of training progress).

JAMA, 2011; 306(9): 952–960

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Occupational Health at Work October/November 2011 (vol. 08/3) pp40