Stanford medical school dean: Student burnout 'crescendos during residency'

Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine Dean Lloyd B. Minor, MD, said fighting physical fatigue is only half the battle in lessening the rate of burnout among U.S. medical school students.

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Minor wrote while burnout is a well-known issue among medical professionals, it is "uniquely troubling … that medical students experience pressures so great that they burn out on the profession before they've even joined it."

To fight increasing burnout among students, administrators and faculty at Stanford have begun to examine the potential relationship between burnout and other health issues, such as depression and anxiety, and have implemented certain therapies to help students manage their mental health. Dr. Minor said the medical school also conducts an annual wellness survey, with recent results indicating lack of sleep as medical students' No. 1 health need.

"Medical education will always be demanding, and a certain degree of stress is inevitable. But schools and students can work together to help manage that stress and prevent it from turning into burnout," Dr. Minor wrote. "If we can't set a pattern of wellness in the medical student years, there's little hope for improving the burnout problem in the broader physician world."

To read Dr. Minor's op-ed, click here.

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