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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 35-49

A cross-sectional online evaluation of burnout risk factors among general surgical residents in Canada

1 Department of General Surgery, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
2 Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Clinical Research Support Unit, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Simon Timothy Adams
Department of General Surgery, Royal. University Hospital, University of Saskatchewan, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 0W8
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_83_17

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Background: Burnout is hallmarked by physical and psychological exhaustion, coupled with cynicism and disengagement. Evidence suggests that affected physicians not only suffer personally, but that patient safety and clinical outcomes are also negatively affected. This study aimed to identify potentially remediable risks for burnout among residents enrolled in Canadian general surgery programs. Methods: In this cross-sectional design, a questionnaire was distributed to every general surgery resident in the 15 programs consenting to participate. Questions examined the following five domains: demographics, working patterns, attitudes toward residency, life experiences, and lifestyle/outlook. Respondents' risks of burnout were assessed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Univariate analysis and then multiple logistic regression were used to assess predictors. Results: A total of 114 completed questionnaires were received (22%). Of these residents, 39 (34%) met the criteria for high burnout risk. Inadequate personal/family time, a personal history of mental health or substance abuse-related issues, and moderately to poorly approachable staff/senior residents were all significantly associated with a high burnout risk (odds ratio [OR] =4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.6, 11.2, P = 0.003; OR =6.0, 95% CI = 1.6, 21.9, P = 0.007; and OR = 4.6, 95% CI = 1.7, 12.5, P = 0.003 respectively). Predicted high burnout risk probability with none of the above factors was 10%, increasing up to 40%, 75%, and 93% with one, two, or all of these risk factors present respectively. Conclusion: One-third of general surgery residents in Canada are at high burnout risk. Residency programs may have considerable influence over factors associated with this outcome to the benefit of residents, staff, and patients. The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Practice-based learning and improvement, Professionalism, Systems-based practice.

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