Moral distress and burnout in internal medicine residents
Background: Residents frequently encounter situations in their workplace that may induce moral distress or burnout. The objective of this study was to measure overall and rotation-specific moral distress and burnout in medical residents, and the relationship between demographics and moral distress and burnout.
Methods: The revised Moral Distress Scale and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Human Service version) were administered to Internal Medicine residents in the 2013-2014 academic year at the University of British Columbia.
Results: Of the 88 residents, 45 completed the surveys. Participants (mean age 30+/-3; 46% male) reported a median moral distress score (interquartile range) of 77 (50-96). Twenty-six percent of residents had considered quitting because of moral distress, 21% had a high level of burnout, and only 5% had a low level of burnout. Moral distress scores were highest during Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Clinical Teaching Unit (CTU) rotations, and lowest during elective rotations (p<0.0001). Women reported higher emotional exhaustion. Moral distress was associated with depersonalization (p=0.01), and both moral distress and burnout were associated with intention to leave the job.
Conclusion: Internal Medicine residents report moral distress that is greatest during ICU and CTU rotations, and is associated with burnout and intention to leave the job.
Submission of an original manuscript to the Canadian Medical Education Journal will be taken to mean that it represents original work not previously published, that it is not being considered elsewhere for publication. If accepted for publication, it will be published online and it will not be published elsewhere in the same form, for commercial purposes, in any language, without the consent of the publisher.
Authors who publish in the Canadian Medical Education Journal agree to release their articles under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 Canada Licence. This licence allows anyone to copy and distribute the article for non-commercial purposes provided that appropriate attribution is given. For details of the rights an author grants users of their work, please see the licence summary and the full licence.