Burnout is a work-related syndrome involving emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment that has become prevalent in all levels of medical training. We sought to understand factors associated with burnout identified in vascular surgery trainees.
An anonymous electronic survey consisting of demographic and programmatic information as well as validated scales for burnout, depression, perceived stress, self-efficacy, and social support was given to all vascular surgery trainees in the United States. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to compare responses. Residents were grouped into quartiles based on burnout level, and predictors of burnout were determined.
Of the 514 invitations sent, 177 (34%) respondents completed the survey. Trainees in the highest quartile of burnout were more likely to have moderate to severe depression (40% vs 4%; P < .01), higher perceived stress score (odds ratio [OR], 1.3; P < .01), lower social support (OR, 0.89; P < .01), and lower self-efficacy (OR, 0.76; P < .01), and they were less likely to reconsider vascular surgery as a career if given the chance to do it over (χ2 = 20; P < .01). Trainees without a self-identified mentor were significantly more likely to report burnout (χ2 = 15; P < .01). In addition, trainees who reported more frequent 80-hour work infractions each month (3.6 vs 2.3; P < .01) and those without access to programmatic social events (χ2 = 11; P < .01) had higher levels of burnout. In contrast, trainees with the lowest quartile of burnout scores reported lower depression (OR, 0.43; P < .01), lower stress (OR, 0.63; P < .01), more social support (OR, 0.1.2; P < .01), higher self-efficacy (OR, 1.2; P < .01), and fewer work week violations each month (2.3 vs 2.9; P = .04). Lower burnout scores were associated with program mentorship (χ2 = 7.3; P < .01), program-sponsored social events (χ2 = 8.7; P < .01), and being more likely to choose vascular surgery again if given the chance (χ2 = 6.3; P < .01). Highest burnout scores did not correlate with sex (χ2 < .01; P = 1), age (32 years vs 32 years; P = .65), marital status (χ2 < .01; P = 1), proximity to family (OR, 1.2; P = .26), alcohol consumption (χ2 = 0.23; P = .63), postgraduate year (OR, 1.1; P = .47), number of prior program graduates (OR, 0.95; P = .73), use of physician extenders in the program (OR, 0.93; P = .74), or total debt (OR, 1.0; P = .63). Similarly, there were no significant associations with these variables among trainees with the lowest quartile of burnout scores. On multivariate analysis, higher depression (OR, 1.6; P < .01) and higher perceived stress (OR, 1.2; P < .01) were associated with higher burnout scores, and lower burnout scores were associated with lower perceived stress (OR, 0.67; P < .01).
Burnout in vascular surgery trainees is associated with higher levels of depression and perceived stress and lower levels of social support and self-efficacy. The addition of programmatic social events, limiting 80-hour work week violations, and addition of formal mentoring programs may decrease levels of burnout.