About 1 in 7 Internal Medicine Residents Report Being Bullied

One in seven internal medicine residents report being bullied since starting residency training.

HealthDay News — One in seven internal medicine residents report being bullied since starting residency training, according to a research letter published in the Aug. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Manasa S. Ayyala, M.D., from the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, and colleagues evaluated data from a 2016 American College of Physicians survey of internal medicine residents. Bullying was defined as “harassment that occurs repeatedly (more than once) by an individual in a position of greater power,” and harassment was characterized as verbal, physical, sexual, or other.

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The researchers found that of the 21,212 residents who completed the survey and allowed their data to be used for research purposes, 13.6 percent reported experiencing bullying since the beginning of residency training. Verbal harassment was the most common form of harassment reported (80 percent), followed by other harassment (25 percent), physical harassment (5.3 percent), and sexual harassment (3.6 percent). Speaking a non-English native language, higher postgraduate year level, being an international medical graduate, and a lower tertile on the Internal Medicine In-Training Examination were significantly associated with reporting bullying. Participants reported the consequences of bullying were feeling burned out (57 percent), worsened performance as a resident (39 percent), and depression (27 percent).

“Taking steps to eliminate bullying is essential to ensure supportive learning environments that will promote the professional development of all medical trainees,” the authors write.

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