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Grit: what is it and why does it matter in medicine?
  1. Donald H Lee1,
  2. Kaitlyn Reasoner2,
  3. Diane Lee3
  1. 1Orthopaedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  2. 2Internal Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  3. 3Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Donald H Lee, Orthopaedic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA; donald.h.lee{at}


Grit refers to the combination of passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Grit has emerged as a recent topic of interest within the medical community. With ever-increasing rates of burnout and psychological distress, increasing attention has been directed towards modulatory or protective factors for these deleterious outcomes. Grit has been studied in regard to a variety of outcomes and variables in medicine. This article reviews the current literature on grit in medicine and summarises the current research on grit and performance metrics, personality characteristics, longitudinal progression, psychological well-being, diversity, equity and inclusion, burnout and residency attrition. While there is inconclusive evidence on the influence of grit on performance metrics in medicine, research consistently demonstrates a positive correlation between grit and psychological well-being and a negative correlation between grit and burnout. After discussing some of the inherent limitations of this type of research, this article suggests some possible implications and future areas for research and their potential role in cultivating psychologically healthy physicians and promoting successful careers in medicine.

  • medical education & training
  • organisational development
  • quality in health care
  • education and training

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  • Contributors All three authors made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work; were integrally involved in drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; provided final approval of the version to be published; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.