September 17, 2010

Med School Burnout = Lazy Practitioner

Many students experience med school burnout because there is just too much to know and not enough time to study it all, but this study showed that med school burnouts tend to be lazy practitioners.

The Mayo Clinic conducted a study on seven major med schools across the U.S., with 4,400 participants responding to an anonymous survey. Of these 4,400 53 percent experienced burnout in med school, although academic cheating was rare for these participants, about 40 percent of the third and fourth year students admitted to some type of unprofessional conduct when dealing with patient care. For example, many filled out an examination as "normal" when they didn't even examine the patient. The researchers say that the student knew their behavior is dishonest and inappropriate, and that perhaps the methods of teaching and learning need to be rearranged to elicit more respectful behavior.

The findings also suggest that burned-out med students weren't as likely to hold altruistic attitudes about a doctor's role in society, which includes the lack of desire to treat the underserved.

"Our findings suggest future physicians' altruism, professionalism, and commitment to serve society are eroded by burnout," Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., Mayo Clinic internist and first author of the study was quoted as saying. "This is concerning since burnout is a pervasive problem among medical students, residents, and physicians in practice. As our nation reforms its health care system, it is essential that physicians advocate for patients, promote the public health, and reduce barriers to equitable health care. Burnout appears to be a threat to this process."

SOURCE: JAMA, published online September 16, 2010