Mian A, Kim D, Chen D, Ward WL (2018) Medical Student and Resident Burnout: A Review of Causes, Effects, and Prevention. J Fam Med Dis Prev 4:094.


© 2018 Mian A, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

REVIEW ARTICLE | OPEN ACCESS DOI: 10.23937/2469-5793/1510094

Medical Student and Resident Burnout: A Review of Causes, Effects, and Prevention

Amir Mian1*, Dahye Kim2, Duane Chen3 and Wendy L Ward4

1Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, USA

2Furman University, USA

3Episcopal Collegiate School, USA

4University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, USA


Professional burnout is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, which may result from prolonged unhealthy occupational stress. Symptoms in burnout cluster in three domains: emotional exhaustion, feeling isolated, and low work satisfaction. Medical students and residents are at particular risk because of their dual student pressures and in-training clinical care responsibilities. Common sources of personal and professional stressors include lack of time for leisure activities, inordinate workloads and sleep deprivation, emotional drain stemming from sick and dying patients, and training coinciding with major events of life. Symptoms of burnout include distress and depression, anxiety/worry, dropping out, substance abuse, and suicidality. If not managed appropriately, burnout can result in a lowered quality of life, negative impacts on patient care, and in extreme cases, professional impairment. The literature not only provides guidance regarding structural components and preventive programs that are effective in reducing burnout risk in medical students and residents but also summarizes the leading sources of professional stress amongst medical trainees, their impact on professional performance and personal lives as well as potential impact of interventional programs. In this manuscript, we performed a narrative review that considers the causes and effects of burnout, protective factors against burnout, and eventual prevention of burnout. Through analysis of the literature, implementation of widespread monitoring of burnout levels, prevention programs, and the consideration of changes in the structural components of the medical student and residency curriculum is recommended across medical schools.