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Postgrad Med J 89:493-494 doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2013-132214
  • Editorial

Avoiding burnout in new doctors: sleep, supervision and teams

Editor's Choice
  1. Diana Hamilton-Fairley2
  1. 1Department of Surgery, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Health Education South London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Diana Hamilton-Fairley, Health Education South London, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London SC1B 5DN, UK; diana.hamilton-fairley{at}nhs.net
  • Received 19 July 2013
  • Accepted 22 July 2013

What started out as important, meaningful and challenging work becomes unpleasant, unfulfilling and meaningless. Energy turns into exhaustion, involvement turns into cynicism, and efficacy turns into ineffectiveness.1

Burnout in new doctors

Being a new doctor is stressful. Dealing with people who are ill, dying or bereaved is upsetting enough; the feeling that you could make a mistake that could cost someone their life can be overwhelming.2 It is not surprising that many researchers have found psychological morbidity and burnout to be common among new doctors.3 Some personality types are more vulnerable than others and some working conditions are stressful even for the most robust.4 A report in this edition of PMJ found burnout in a shocking 42/55 (76%) of residents studied toward the end of their first year.5 Burnout was associated with on-call duties, heavy workload and fatigue. Those with burnout were more likely to report making errors. As others have shown, by the end of the first year, excitement and anxiety have …

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