Do Rates of Burnout, Career-Choice Regret Vary by Specialty Among Resident Physicians?

Bottom Line: Burnout is common among physicians. But do rates of burnout symptoms and career-choice regret vary among physicians in training by clinical specialty? In a study of nearly 3,600 second-year residents who were followed-up with questionnaires since medical school, 45 percent reported burnout symptoms and 14 percent reported regret over their career choice. The frequency of burnout symptoms and career-choice regret varied widely by specialty. Residents who trained in urology, neurology, emergency medicine or general surgery were more likely to report burnout symptoms compared with residents training in internal medicine, while residents who trained in pathology and anesthesiology were more likely to report career regret. Limitations of this observational study include that study participants may not be representative of all U.S. resident physicians. Regardless of specialty, high levels of anxiety and low levels of empathy reported during medical school were associated with burnout symptoms during residency.

Authors: Liselotte N. Dyrbye, M.D., M.H.P.E., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota and coauthors

Related Material

The following related elements from The JAMA Network are also available on the For The Media website:

— The JAMA study, “Prevalence of Burnout Among Physicians.”

— The JAMA editorial, “Physician Burnout—A Serious Symptom, But of What?

Previously published:

— From JAMA Surgery, “Multiple-Institution Comparison of Resident and Faculty Perceptions of Burnout and Depression During Surgical Training.”

— From JAMA Internal Medicine, “Workplace Factors Associated With Burnout of Family Physicians.”

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2018.12615)