Length of medical-system exposure, not generational traits, contribute to burnout
TUESDAY, May 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Millennial and Generation X medical residents and fellows experience similar rates of burnout and have similar levels of empathy, according to a study published online May 5 in Academic Psychiatry.
Brandon Hamm, M.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues asked residents and fellows to complete the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy and Maslach Burnout Inventory during the 2013 to 2014 academic year. Empathy and burnout were compared for 388 millennial residents and fellows (born between 1982 and 2000) versus a sample of 200 Generation X providers (born between 1965 and 1981) followed since residency and fellowship.
The researchers found that when adjusting for gender, race, and postgraduate year (PGY) level, there were no statistically significant differences between millennial and Generation X groups in mean scores of empathy or burnout. There was an association between decreased empathy and advanced PGY level and increased empathy in Hispanic/Latino race. An association was noted between burnout rate and PGY level, but not generational affiliation. Decreased depersonalization was seen with advanced training levels and Hispanic/Latino race.
“As millennial physicians are increasingly entering the workforce, people seem to be wondering what millennial doctors will be like, and I’ve heard older physicians opine that physician burnout is a bigger problem now due to generation vulnerability,” Hamm said in a statement. “Our study provides a little more transparency that it’s medical-system exposure — not generational traits — that is more likely to contribute to the burnout seen in today’s doctors.”
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