Effects of Early COVID-19 Restrictions on Resident Well-being and Burnout

Eric Messner, Jessica Parascando, Christina La Gamma, Curtis Bone, Karl T. Clebak, Timothy D. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to burnout among residents, a population already at increased risk for heightened stress and work-related fatigue. Residency programs were also forced to alter schedules and educational objectives. We assessed how social distancing restrictions (specifically self-isolation) enacted early in the COVID-19 pandemic affected family medicine (FM) resident well-being and burnout. Our FM department created a 2-week reserve rotation as a response to the need to socially distance and protect the residents. We explored how the reserve rotations impacted their experiences. METHODS: A purposive sample of FM residents were recruited in May and June of 2020. Qualitative interviews explored well-being and burnout, changes in education and provision of patient care, and overall adaptation to the pandemic. We employed interpretative phenomenology to analyze the interviews. RESULTS: We interviewed six out of 24 residents before saturation was reached. Qualitative analysis revealed themes related to positive and negative consequences of the pandemic, including uncertainty/fear of the unknown, schedule/life changes, communication, and adapting to a new routine. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic placed an additional burden on residents, a group already at increased risk for burnout. While uncertainty and disruptions in work and home life were significant stressors, this cohort demonstrated adaptability and resilience that was facilitated by peer support and effective communication. These factors, along with the reserve rotation with decreased clinical responsibilities, led to an improved sense of well-being and decreased feelings of burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-712
Number of pages5
JournalFamily medicine
Volume54
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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