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Residents Express Emotional, Social and Physical Stress in the Clinical Learning Environment
Purpose: To evaluate OBGYN residents’ perceptions of personal wellness
in relation to their clinical learning environment
Background: Resident wellbeing is a significant issue affecting
our future physicians’ abilities to fulfill their training potential.
Methods: The Council on Resident Education in OBGYN (CREOG)
administered a voluntary, anonymous, six-item wellness survey. One
question asked about personal experience with mental health problems
(burnout, depression, binge drinking, eating disorders or suicide attempt) and
then provided a free text response for “other” issues. The free text
responses were reviewed and analyzed. The ACOG IRB determined this survey
exempt from review.
Results: Of 5,061 residents, 4,099 completed the question on
personal issues experienced in residency (81% RR), and 200 free text responses
were submitted. 1593 residents (32%) endorsed clinical depression.
34 (0.8%) wrote in anxiety, although this was not a formal category. The
free text responses clustered into three categories: physical health (n=56),
social concerns (n=34), and mood symptoms (n=115). Symptoms of clinical
depression comprised 5,992 responses, combining structured questions and free
text responses. 18 (0.4%) had attempted suicide, and 18 additional
residents wrote in suicide ideation or attempt, translating into almost 1% of
our residents having contemplated or tried self-harm, likely related to work
Discussions: Significant mood disorders and self-harm are under-recognized
among OBGYN residents, even as they acknowledge these symptoms. Programs
must consider formal evaluations for depression, anxiety, and suicide risk,
conduct thorough culture evaluations to ensure these symptoms are not being
normalized, and tailor their interventions to provide accessible, confidential
support services within the clinical learning environment.
CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2019, Student, Resident, Faculty, Osteopathic Faculty, Residency Director, Residency Coordinator, Professionalism, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, GME, CME, Assessment, Team-Based Learning,