Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Burnout and Suicidal Ideation among Medical Students

A recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine focuses on the question of burnout and suicidal ideation among United States medical students. How prevalent is suicidal ideation among medical students? We all know that students, residents, and attendings experience burnout. So these authors looked at 7 different medical schools from 2006 to 2007 and found that:
  • Burnout was reported by 49.6% (95% CI, 47.5% to 51.8%) of students, and 11.2% (CI, 9.9% to 12.6%) reported suicidal ideation within the past year. 
  • Recovery from burnout was associated with markedly less suicidal ideation, which suggests that recovery from burnout decreased suicide risk. 
What does this tell us about our existing medical school system? What can we do to ensure that students, residents, and physicians who are experiencing burnout are getting the proper help they need? You can access the abstract here.

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