Factors associated with burnout among US neurosurgery residents: A nationwide survey

Frank J. Attenello, Ian A. Buchanan, Timothy Wen, Daniel A. Donoho, Shirley McCartney, Steven Y. Cen, Alexander A. Khalessi, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Joseph S. Cheng, William J. Mack, Clemens M. Schirmer, Karin R. Swartz, J. Adair Prall, Ann R. Stroink, Steven L. Giannotta, Paul Klimo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Excessive dissatisfaction and stress among physicians can precipitate burnout, which results in diminished productivity, quality of care, and patient satisfaction and treatment adherence. Given the multiplicity of its harms and detriments to workforce retention and in light of the growing physician shortage, burnout has garnered much attention in recent years. Using a national survey, the authors formally evaluated burnout among neurosurgery trainees. Methods: An 86-item questionnaire was disseminated to residents in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons database between June and November 2015. Questions evaluated personal and workplace stressors, mentorship, career satisfaction, and burnout. Burnout was assessed using the previously validated Maslach Burnout Inventory. Factors associated with burnout were determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression. Results: The response rate with completed surveys was 21% (346/1643). The majority of residents were male (78%), 26-35 years old (92%), in a stable relationship (70%), and without children (73%). Respondents were equally distributed across all residency years. Eighty-one percent of residents were satisfied with their career choice, although 41% had at some point given serious thought to quitting. The overall burnout rate was 67%. In the multivariate analysis, notable factors associated with burnout included inadequate operating room exposure (OR 7.57, p = 0.011), hostile faculty (OR 4.07, p = 0.008), and social stressors outside of work (OR 4.52, p = 0.008). Meaningful mentorship was protective against burnout in the multivariate regression models (OR 0.338, p = 0.031). Conclusions: Rates of burnout and career satisfaction are paradoxically high among neurosurgery trainees. While several factors were predictive of burnout, including inadequate operative exposure and social stressors, meaningful mentorship proved to be protective against burnout. The documented negative effects of burnout on patient care and health care economics necessitate further studies for potential solutions to curb its rise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1349-1363
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Volume129
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Career satisfaction
  • National survey
  • Neurosurgery
  • Physician burnout
  • Residency training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with burnout among US neurosurgery residents: A nationwide survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this