Burnout Among United States Orthopaedic Surgery Residents

Jeremy S. Somerson, Andrew Patton, Awad A. Ahmed, Stephen Ramey, Emma B. Holliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: There is growing interest in the problem of burnout among physicians. Here, we examine the factors associated with burnout in orthopedic surgical training. DESIGN: An Internet-based anonymous survey assessing workload, work-life balance, education, and resident-specific factors such as marital status and postgraduate year was developed. The survey was distributed to United States orthopedic surgery residency directors in September 2018, and program directors were asked to forward the survey to their trainees. Multivariable analysis assessed correlations with burnout. SETTING: All 161 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited United States orthopedic surgery residency programs. PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred and three United States orthopedic surgery residents. RESULTS: Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported symptoms of burnout. Even so, the vast majority did not regret choosing a medical career (95%) or their choice of residency program (90%). Greater than half of trainees who responded reported educational debt over $200,000. Thirteen percent reported receiving verbal abuse from faculty more than rarely. On multivariable analysis, 3 factors emerged that were associated with higher burnout: working more than 80 hours per week (odds ratio [OR] 2.8; range, 1.1-7.8), use of electronic medical record more than 20 hours per week (OR 2.1; range 1.0-4.5), and receiving verbal abuse from faculty more than rarely (OR 3.7; range, 1.3-11.5). The perception of adequate nursing support was associated with lower burnout (OR 0.2; range, 0.04-0.5). CONCLUSIONS: More than one-third of orthopedic trainees are experiencing burnout, but most still maintain high levels of career satisfaction. The key factors strongly associated with resident burnout are modifiable. Targeted interventions related to these factors should be evaluated for their potential to reduce burnout in orthopedic surgery residents. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Strategies to reduce the development of burnout have the potential to improve quality of care and decrease medical errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-968
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • burnout
  • career satisfaction
  • orthopedics
  • residency
  • resident trainees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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