Physician burnout and depression during medical residency

Physician burnout starts early in training.

I wrote last year that medical residents faced burnout, helped in part by the culture they train in:

… residents “from seven different specialties and found that they set themselves up for burnout by accepting, even embracing, what they believed would be a temporary imbalance between the personal and professional aspects of their lives.”

Recent studies have shed more light on the issue.

According to a study from the Archives of General Psychiatry, “fewer than 4% of doctors in training have major depression when they enter residency. But about 25% do by the end of the first year.”

Being depressed doesn’t help doctors care for patients. According to the study’s author, “It’s a really serious matter … We have to find ways to reduce the chances of developing depression and treating it once it comes on.”

Indeed, residency programs need to be proactive in identifying and treating physicians-in-training who are at risk of mental health issues. Because if it’s not addressed, it’s a burden that will only grow and follow the doctor long after he leaves the training environment.

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