Burnout, depression common among anesthesiology residents

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 8, 2013

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Forty-one percent of anesthesiology residents are at high risk for burnout, said a survey of more than 1,500 residents. Working more than 70 hours a week, having more than five alcoholic drinks weekly and being female put the residents at elevated risk for being burned out, said the study, published in the July issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia (link).

Meanwhile, 22% of the residents screened positive for depression. The residents with burnout and depression scored four points lower on a 30-point “best practices” scale and were much likelier than other residents to report committing multiple medication errors in the prior year.

The study echoes findings in other medical specialties. Rates of burnout range from 40% to 90% across specialty areas of resident training, according to the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine’s Committee for Prevention of Physician Suicide. The anesthesiology study’s authors suggest that psychological screening could help catch resident problems before they worsen and said more should be done to balance trainee workloads against quality-of-life priorities.

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