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Current Issue - July 2019, Volume 13, Issue No. 2

Official Journal of Malaysian Orthopaedic Association and ASEAN Orthopaedic Association

Orthopaedic Resident Burnout: A Literature Review on Vulnerability, Risk Factors, Consequences and Management Strategies


Introduction: Orthopaedic surgery is physically demanding. Surgeons may have to work long unpredictable hours especially during residency training. This arduous task comes with the risk of burnout leading to negative repercussions to the surgeon and the patient. In view of strategising peer support, we intend to review the literature and analyse whether orthopaedic resident burnout is a global issue. We also intend to derive common strategies to tackle burnout at individual and organisational levels.

Materials and Methods: A literature search was carried out in the databases including PubMed, Scopus, SciELO, and Google Scholar to shortlist studies dealing with orthopaedic residency and related burnout. Those studies that used the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) for quantifying burnout were collectively interpreted. Other studies were reviewed to analyse the vulnerability, risk factors, consequences and management strategies related to burnout.

Results: Among a total of 72 titles shortlisted, eight studies independently reported burnout among orthopaedic surgery residents/trainees and used MBI as a tool for assessing burnout. Based on the three subscales of MBI, 37.2% had high degree of emotional exhaustion (EE), 48% had high degree of depersonalisation (DP) and 33.1% perceived low personal accomplishment. This signifies the high prevalence of burnout among orthopaedic residents/trainees.

Conclusion: Burnout among orthopaedic surgery residents seems to be a universal problem. Risk factors could be multifactorial, influenced by clinical competency and work-home environment. This can be tackled at the individual level by being aware of burnout syndrome, involving in adequate physical activity and spending quality social time; and at the organisational level by duty hour limitation, professional appreciation and mentorship programme.

Abstract   |   Reference

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The Malaysian Orthopaedic Journal is a peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year in both print and electronic online version. The purpose of this journal is to publish original research studies, evaluation of current practices and case reports in various subspecialties of orthopaedics and traumatology, as well as associated fields like basic science, biomedical engineering, rehabilitation medicine and nursing.

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