Residency

Burnout, personal distress may decrease resident safety

Residency Program Insider, December 27, 2012

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Mitigating sleepiness and fatigue in residents has long been the focus of efforts to improve resident and patient safety, but reducing burnout and personal distress may also play an import role, according to a recent Mayo Clinic survey.

The survey evaluated quality-of-life measures in appoximately 300 internal medicine residents over five years, asking residents to use validated scales to report factors like sleepiness, fatigue, depression, physical well-being, and mental well-being. Residents were also asked about their involvement in unsafe incidents, including car accidents.
 
About 10 % of residents reported being directly involved in a car accident during the survey period, about 40% reported a near-miss accident, and 20% reported falling asleep while driving. Fatigue and sleepiness increased the odds a resident was involved in a car accident. High levels of burnout, depression, or diminished quality of life in multiple areas also increased the odds of a resident reporting a car accident.
 
Reducing burnout and depression and improving resident quality-of-life should also be part of graduate medical education reforms, the survey’s authors concluded. However, the most effective way to do so is unknown and requires further study, according to the authors.



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