HealthDay News — Symptoms of burnout and career choice regret are prevalent among U.S. resident physicians, according to a study published in the Sept. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Liselotte N. Dyrbye, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues examined factors associated with symptoms of burnout and career choice regret in U.S. resident physicians. First-year medical students completed a baseline questionnaire (4,732 students) and were invited to respond to two questionnaires during year four of medical school and during the second year of residency.

The researchers found that 45.2 percent of 3,574 resident physicians reported symptoms of burnout. Overall, 14.1 percent of resident physicians reported career choice regret. In a multivariable analysis, training in urology, neurology, emergency medicine, and general surgery correlated with higher relative risks of reported burnout symptoms relative to training in internal medicine (range of relative risks [RRs], 1.24 to 1.48). 

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Female sex (RR, 1.17) and higher reported levels of anxiety (RR, 1.08 per one-point increase) during medical school correlated with higher risk of reported burnout symptoms; lower risk was seen with higher reported level of empathy during medical school (RR, 0.99 per one-point increase). There were significant associations for reported symptoms of burnout (RR, 3.20) and clinical specialty (range of RRs, 1.66 to 2.60) with career choice regret.

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“Among U.S. resident physicians, symptoms of burnout and career choice regret were prevalent, but varied substantially by clinical specialty,” the authors write. “Further research is needed to better understand these differences and to address these issues.”

Two authors disclosed receiving royalties from CWS Inc., for the Well-Being Index licensed by the Mayo Clinic.

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