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Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

Brianna E Vaa Stelling

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Brianna Vaa, MD (Educators, ’17) is an Internist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She is the Resident Well-Being Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program and oversees curriculum development for the resident outpatient primary care continuity clinic. She also oversees the pre-clinical doctoring blocks for the medical students. Brianna is passionate about trainee well-being and the relationship between emotions, cognition, learning, and burnout. She loves the outdoors and spending time with her dog, Nala. You can reach her on twitter at @VaaBrianna.

Burnout: Addressing the epidemic in Medical Trainees

Burnout is a serious epidemic affecting medical students, residents, and practicing physicians. This past January, Mohammad Zaher authored an insightful blog discussing the current state of well-being in health care. This current blog will build on these ideas with a focus on medical trainees. In addition, I will discuss practical solutions that can be implemented at your institution to improve trainee well-being.

Burnout is defined as a work related syndrome of depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and decreased sense of personal accomplishment. Studies have shown that burnout begins in medical school, and intensifies during residency. Furthermore, approximately 50% of practicing physicians meet criteria for burnout. Burnout has grave personal consequences for medical trainees, including decreased quality of life, higher rates of depression, and suicidal ideation. Professionally, burnout affects patient safety, physician turnover, and patient satisfaction. Given these undesirable outcomes, increasing efforts to target burnout and improve physician well-being are an important focus at many training programs. Experts and evidence have suggested a combination of individual and organizational approaches to target burnout. Read on to explore the problem of burnout in medical trainees and get ideas about interventions you can implement at your own institution.

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