More than half of neurology fellows experience burnout

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A recent study, published in Neurology, found more than half of neurology fellows experience at least one symptom of burnout.

Led by Kerry H. Levin, MD, FAAN, chair of neurology at the Cleveland Clinic and chair of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Resident Burnout Subcommittee, the study aimed at outlining rates of burnout in U.S. residents and fellows. Researchers hope these results could help create current practices to combat burnout.

The study enrolled 938 members of the U.S. AAN working as residents and fellows. With a 37.7 percent response rate, 354 participants were surveyed on measures of burnout, career satisfaction and well-being from January to March 2016.

Overall, two thirds of participants were residents and a third were fellows. Results showed that 73 percent of residents and 55 percent of fellows experienced at least one symptom of burnout, mostly related to the higher scores of depersonalization in residents. Improved rates of work-life balance, meaningful work and older age correlated with lower rates of burnout in residents. Fellows experienced lower rates of burnout with greater satisfaction with work-life balance and support staff. Those experiencing burnout were less likely to be satisfied with their careers.

“Burnout is common in neurology residents and fellows. Lack of work–life balance and lack of meaning in work were associated with reduced career satisfaction and increased risk of burnout,” concluded Levin and colleagues. “These results should inform approaches to reduce burnout and promote career satisfaction and well-being in U.S. neurology trainees.”