Pediatric Residents Experiencing a High Level of Burnout

HealthDay News — Burnout is prevalent among pediatric residents and is associated with suboptimal patient care attitudes and behaviors, according to research published online Feb. 23 in Pediatrics.

Tamara Elizabeth Baer, MD, MPH, from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues surveyed 258 residents from 11 pediatric residency programs to assess the prevalence of burnout. Using 7 questions from a standardized qualitative survey the authors measured patient care attitudes and behaviors.

The researchers found that 39% of respondents endorsed burnout. The odds of reporting suboptimal patient care attitudes and behaviors were significantly elevated among residents with burnout; these included discharging patients to make the service more manageable, not fully answering questions or discussing treatment options, making treatment or medication errors, ignoring the social or personal aspect of illness, and feeling guilty about patient treatment (adjusted odds ratios, 4.2, 3.5, 7.1, 9.6, and 6.0, respectively).

“Residency programs should develop interventions addressing burnout and its potential negative impact on patient care,” the authors wrote.

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Baer TE, Feraco AM, Sagalowsky ST, et al. Pediatric resident burnout and attitudes toward patients [published online February 23, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2163