Dermatology residents experience burnout, too; plus why pediatric AD therapy has an adherence problem
Dermatology residents may be among the least burned-out residents across specialties, but burnout syndrome still affects almost one in three dermatology residents. In this special resident takeover of the podcast, three dermatology residents — Dr. Julie Croley (@dr.skinandsmiles), Dr. Elisabeth Tracey, and Dr. Daniel Mazori — discuss sources of stress for dermatology residents as well as tools to identify and combat burnout to ultimately be a better provider. “The low-stress perception of dermatologists may counterintuitively or paradoxically make recognizing burnout within others and ourselves challenging, so I think it’s important for residents and faculty to be aware that this occurs in such a high prevalence,” reports Dr. Croley.
We also bring you the latest in dermatology news and research.
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Things you will learn in this episode:
- Jeffrey Benabio quipped in a Dermatology News column, “The phrase ‘dermatologist burnout’ may seem as oxymoronic as jumbo shrimp, yet both are real.”
- Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment.
- For dermatology residents, the preliminary internship year plus the first year of residency can be the most stressful. “You have 2 years of being the least experienced person in your department,” explains Dr. Tracey, “and so that adds to the stress of the sense of lack of accomplishment during that time.”
- Board examinations are a top stressor for dermatology residents.
- Institutions are recognizing and addressing burnout among residents by offering wellness lectures, yoga classes, and social events to counteract the stresses of residency. Some also hold town hall meetings and forums that allow residents and other department members to raise concerns and find concrete solutions to shared problems. Formalizing feedback to residents, especially positive feedback, also is important.
- Residents — and all health care providers — need to take care of themselves to provide the best care to their patients. “It’s all about balance and about creating time for those other things that are important to you and not feeling guilty about setting aside time to do those things. We don’t always need to be productive and always be working,” Dr. Tracey adds.
- Setting both short- and long-term goals may be helpful in preventing burnout. Don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal — becoming a dermatologist — but set and focus on goals for the day or the week.
- First-year residents can help to create a positive culture within their departments. Instead of commiserating with colleagues only about a hard day, “sharing cool cases or talking about interesting things that you’ve learned” can create a better environment for everyone, Dr. Tracey advises.
- The idea that dermatology residents can’t or don’t experience burnout is a myth. “Just like a rare diagnosis, it’s sometimes harder to spot than something that we see all the time,” says Dr. Mazori. If a resident is starting to feel burned out, it is essential to reach out to a trusted friend or colleague to address the issues.
Hosts: Elizabeth Mechcatie, Terry Rudd
Guests: Julie Ann Amthor Croley, MD (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston); Elisabeth (Libby) Tracey, MD (Cleveland Clinic Foundation); Daniel R. Mazori, MD (State University of New York, Brooklyn).
Show notes by: Ann M. Hoppel, Melissa Sears, Elizabeth Mechcatie
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