BackgroundBurnout and depression among healthcare professionals and trainees remain alarmingly common. In 2009, 56% of orthopaedic surgery residents reported burnout. Alcohol and illicit drug use are potential exacerbating factors of burnout and depression; however, these have been scarcely studied in residency populations.Questions/purposes(1) What proportion of orthopaedic residents report symptoms of burnout and depression? (2) What factors are independently associated with an orthopaedic resident reporting emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, low personal accomplishment, and depression? (3) What proportion of orthopaedic residents report hazardous alcohol or drug use? (4) What factors are independently associated with an orthopaedic resident reporting hazardous alcohol or drug use?MethodsWe asked 164 orthopaedic surgery programs to have their residents participate in a 34-question internet-based, anonymous survey, 28% of which (46 of 164) agreed. The survey was distributed to all 1147 residents from these programs, and 58% (661 of 1147) of these completed the survey. The respondents were evenly distributed among training years. Eighty-three percent (551 of 661) were men, 15% (101 of 661) were women, and 1% (nine of 661) preferred not to provide their gender. The survey asked about demographics, educational debt, sleep and work habits, perceived peer or program support, and substance use, and validated instruments were used to assess burnout (abbreviated Maslach Burnout Inventory), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-2), and hazardous alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test - Consumption). The main outcome measures included overall burnout, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, low personal accomplishment, depression, and hazardous alcohol and drug use. Using the variables gathered in the survey, we performed an exploratory analysis to identify significant associations for each of the outcomes, followed by a multivariable analysis.ResultsBurnout was reported by 52% (342 of 661) of residents. Thirteen percent of residents (83 of 656) had positive screening results for depression. Factors independently associated with high emotional exhaustion scores included early training year (odds ratio 1.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.32; p = 0.03) unmanageable work volume (OR 3.13; 95% CI, 1.45-6.67; p < 0.01), inability to attend health maintenance appointments (OR 3.23; 95% CI, 1.69-6.25; p < 0.01), lack of exercise (OR 1.69; 95% CI, 1.08-2.70; p = 0.02), and lack of program support (OR 3.33; 95% CI, 2.00-5.56; p < 0.01). Factors independently associated with depersonalization included early training year (OR 1.27; 95% CI, 1.12-1.41; p < 0.01), inability to attend health maintenance appointments (OR 2.70; 95% CI, 1.67-4.35; p < 0.01), and lack of co-resident support (OR 2.52; 95% CI, 1.52-4.18; p < 0.01). Low personal accomplishment was associated with a lack of co-resident support (OR 2.85; 95% CI, 1.54-5.28; p < 0.01) and lack of program support (OR 2.33; 95% CI, 1.32-4.00; p < 0.01). Factors associated with depression included exceeding duty hour restrictions (OR 2.50; 95% CI, 1.43-4.35; p < 0.01) and lack of program support (OR 3.85; 95% CI, 2.08-7.14; p < 0.01). Sixty-one percent of residents (403 of 656) met the criteria for hazardous alcohol use. Seven percent of residents (48 of 656) reported using recreational drugs in the previous year. Factors independently associated with hazardous alcohol use included being a man (OR 100; 95% CI, 35-289; p < 0.01), being Asian (OR 0.31; 95% CI, 0.17-0.56; p < 0.01), single or divorced marital status (OR 2.33; 95% CI, 1.47-3.68; p < 0.01), and more sleep per night (OR 1.92; 95% CI, 1.21-3.06; p < 0.01). Finally, single or divorced marital status was associated with drug use in the past year (OR 2.30; 95% CI, 1.26-4.18; p < 0.01).ConclusionsThe lack of wellness among orthopaedic surgery residents is troubling, especially because most of the associated risk factors are potentially modifiable. Programs should capitalize on the modifiable elements to combat burnout and improve overall wellbeing. Programs should also educate residents on burnout, focus on work volume, protect access to health maintenance, nurture those in the early years of training, and remain acutely aware of the risk of substance abuse. Orthopaedic surgery trainees should strive to encourage peer support, cultivate personal responsibility, and advocate for themselves or peers when faced with challenges. At a minimum, programs and educational leaders should foster an environment in which admitting symptoms of burnout is not seen as a weakness or failure.Level of EvidenceLevel II, prognostic study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine