Moral distress and burnout in internal medicine residents

  • Sharareh Sajjadi Internal Medicine Residency, University of British Columbia
  • Monica Norena Center for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia
  • Hubert Wong School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Peter Dodek Division of Critical Care Medicine, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia
Keywords: moral distress, burnout, Medical Residents.

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Monica Norena, Center for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia

Monica Norena is a statistical analyst at the Center for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Hubert Wong, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Hubert Wong is an Associate Professor in the School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Peter Dodek, Division of Critical Care Medicine, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia

Peter Dodek is a Professor in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.

Published
2017-02-24
Section
Major Contributions