What gets resident physicians stressed and how would they prefer to be supported? A best-worst scaling study

This article was originally published here

Postgrad Med J. 2021 Nov 22:postgradmedj-2021-140719. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2021-140719. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Physician burnout has severe consequences on clinician well-being. Residents face numerous work-stressors that can contribute to burnout; however, given specialty variation in work-stress, it is difficult to identify systemic stressors and implement effective burnout interventions on an institutional level. Assessing resident preferences by specialty for common wellness interventions could also contribute to improved efficacy.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study used best-worst scaling (BWS), a type of discrete choice modelling, to explore how 267 residents across nine specialties (anaesthesiology, emergency medicine, internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology, pathology, psychiatry, radiology and surgery) prioritised 16 work-stressors and 4 wellness interventions at a large academic medical centre during the COVID-19 pandemic (December 2020).

RESULTS: Top-ranked stressors were work-life integration and electronic health record documentation. Therapy (63%, selected as ‘would realistically consider intervention’) and coaching (58%) were the most preferred wellness supports in comparison to group-based peer support (20%) and individual peer support (22%). Pathology, psychiatry and OBGYN specialties were most willing to consider all intervention options, with emergency medicine and internal medicine specialties least willing to consider intervention options.

CONCLUSION: BWS can identify relative differences in surveyed stressors, allowing for the generation of specialty-specific stressor rankings and preferences for specific wellness interventions that can be used to drive institution-wide changes to improve clinician wellness. BWS surveys are a potential methodology for clinician wellness programmes to gather specific information on preferences to determine best practices for resident wellness.

PMID:34810273 | DOI:10.1136/postgradmedj-2021-140719