3 top drivers of resident physician burnout

Burnout affects physicians at all levels, and a recent study identified the primary factors that drive burnout among resident physicians. 

The American Medical Association caught up with Mark Linzer, MD, vice chief of medicine at Minneapolis-based Hennepin Healthcare, to discuss his research on burnout. He is the lead author of a study evaluating trends on clinician burnout that was published Nov. 23 in JAMA Health Forum. The findings were based on a survey of more than 20,000 physicians, residents and advanced practice clinicians. The top drivers of resident burnout identified were sleep impairment, lack of program recognition and interruptions. 

The research suggested certain changes during residency training are an important strategy to prevent and mitigate burnout, Dr. Linzer told the AMA in a Feb. 15 blog post. 

"One of our key findings is that work overload and sleep matter, even in the era of duty-hour restrictions," Dr. Linzer said. "Feeling valued was a big mitigator, with burnout rates 30 percent lower if present. Teamwork was also a big mitigator." 

Evidence-based interventions that get ahead of some of these stressors typically work best when it comes to mitigating burnout, Dr. Linzer said. These include jeopardy coverage for essential life events, celebrating resident achievements, removal of after-hours consult pager calls and an extra day off for senior residents. 

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