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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Challenges and frustration—but also satisfaction and fulfillment—face residents in 2018. More than 1900 residents in over 29 specialties responded to Medscape's survey regarding residents' lifestyle and happiness in 2018, in which they told us how much they earn, how many hours they work, and other revealing information. They also described how they relieve their stress, what would reduce burnout at work, and how they find a decent work-life balance. The majority of residents are optimistic and are looking forward to their first job.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Work-life balance was cited as residents' greatest challenge, as it has been in our past three annual survey reports. Dealing with time pressures was the second greatest challenge for the third year in a row. "Fear of being evaluated unfairly," "Finding time to study," "Dealing with difficult patients," "Juggling family and work," and "Making ends meet" were some of the special challenges cited by individual residents. In Medscape's Physician Compensation Report 2018, having so many rules and regulations was the chief complaint for physicians.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Bullying has been identified as a problem in medical school and during residency. In fact, 25% of residents reported that they are either often or occasionally bullied. Luckily, bullying is not a problem for Samantha Ann Armstrong, MD, a third-year resident at Indiana University School of Medicine. She has never witnessed any residents being bullied. "We are as close as family here. My colleagues are always helping each other out," Armstrong says.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Almost three fifths of residents put the blame on attendings, 50% say nurses are the bullies, 36% pointed a finger at senior residents, and 26% say that peers or other residents are bullies. In their comments, individual residents named scrub techs, surgeons, patients, administrators, chief residents, clerical staff, attendings, NPs, PAs, and others as sources of bullying.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Given the stress and challenges of being a resident, it is not surprising that 10% of residents acknowledged being depressed all or most of the time, mirroring last year's and 2016's findings. Also echoing prior survey results, over half of residents said they rarely or never get depressed.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Although residents are under stress and pressure, 85% of residents indicated that they have never considered suicide. One in ten residents have had thoughts of suicide, but none of the respondents said they have attempted suicide.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Seeking mental health treatment often carries a stigma. Almost 70% of residents said they strongly or somewhat agree that there is a stigma among peers when seeking mental health support.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

The majority of residents (65%) said they take time for themselves, either sometimes or always. "I have continued to run marathons, practice yoga, and travel through residency," says Armstrong.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Almost one third of men rarely or never have time, compared with 40% of women. In 2017, at least one third of both men and women said they rarely or never have time for their own wellness.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Forty three percent of residents feel that the balance between their personal and professional lives is pretty much what they were expecting. For a fortunate 25%, the balance is much or somewhat better than anticipated.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Social life is on the back burner for most residents. "The grass is always greener on the other side, and certainly medicine is a demanding field, but I feel like it's changing to be more supportive for people to have a life beyond their career," says Gregory Pelc, MD, a third-year resident at Indiana University School of Medicine.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Almost half of residents (49%) said they would like to be in a long-term relationship with another physician, similar to the response in 2017 (46%). Residents may feel that partners who are in the same field can understand and share similar work challenges and stresses. "In my experience, there are pros and cons to both. Being in a supportive relationship is vital during training, no matter their career," says Armstrong.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Last year, 19% of residents said they are always or mostly too tired to function well, compared with only 5% this year. In 2017, almost half of residents acknowledged that sometimes they are too fatigued to function well due to long shifts.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

There has been controversy over the increase in allowable shift hours for first-year residents. While just over half of our survey's respondents in 2017 said they believe that these longer hours will result in more accidents and errors, this year slightly more than one third (35%) felt this way.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Almost two thirds (64%) of residents said that having a manageable work schedule and call hours would relieve stress, and 41% said that sufficient compensation is one of the remedies. Meanwhile, 40% said that reasonable patient loads would help avoid burnout. "Maternity leave would be helpful," said one resident. "Support from administration," "Fewer years of training," and "Less documentation" were also suggested.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

About half of residents said they sometimes doubt their ability to be a good physician. Almost one third rarely or never have doubts, and nearly one fifth always or mostly have doubts.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Residents have different views when it comes to their concern about making serious mistakes. Almost half (47%) are sometimes afraid of making a serious error, while 45% indicated that they rarely or never worry about it. Eight percent are always or almost always worried.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Clinical knowledge and gaining experience topped the list of rewards that residents get from their jobs. Gratitude from and relationships with patients was also mentioned by a majority of residents, as was "Being very good at what I do," "Finishing what I started," "Being challenged mentally," "Having job security," "Getting the diploma so I can work in the field I want," and "Being part of a team and adding value to it." Allison Tam, MD, a fifth-year resident at Baylor College of Medicine, says, "Learning more about different genetic disorders and applying that knowledge to help patients and their families are the most rewarding aspects of my job."

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

A good work schedule and reasonable call hours are the most important factors that residents consider when looking for their first job as a physician. "Having meaningful work," "Being in a medically underserved area," "Being in an academic center," "Being near family," "Having the ability to subspecialize," "Amenities that the community offers," and "Location near an airport" were factors cited by individual residents. "Geographic location and positive working environment are important key factors that I look for," says Tam.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

The majority (87%) of residents are looking forward to their work. Only 9% of respondents indicated that they are undecided about their future career choice, and 4% said they are not looking forward to it. Similarly, in 2017, 85% of residents were optimistic about their future work, 11% were undecided, and 4% weren't looking forward to it.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

Most residents anticipate being economical with their first salary post-residency. Two thirds (66%) said they won't splurge in their first year after residency, 19% said they will overspend, and 15% aren't sure what they will do. "I cannot afford to overspend (splurge) my first salary post-residency. I still need to pay back my medical school student loans," says Tam.

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2018

Sandra Levy | August 18, 2018 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2019

Medscape Residents Lifestyle & Happiness Report 2019 details how residents feel about stress and burnout, as well as their anticipation toward being physicians.Medscape Features Slideshows, August 2019
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