Why Residents Quit

National Rates of and Reasons for Attrition Among Emergency Medicine Physicians in Training

Dave W. Lu, MD, MSCI, MBE; Nicholas D. Hartman, MD, MPH; Jeffrey Druck, MD; Jennifer Mitzman, MD; Tania D. Strout, PhD, RN, MS


Western J Emerg Med. 2019;20(2):351-356. 

In This Article


There are important limitations to these results. First, this study was an investigation of broad trends and we were unable to ascribe specific causes or individual reasons contributing to a resident's choice to leave a training program. Second, the census data relied on the report of PDs, who may have a different perspective on the reasons for attrition as compared to that of the resident. Stigma may also have caused PDs to decrease the number of residents ascribed to dismissal or withdrawal as opposed to other attrition statuses. Third, the categories of attrition statuses and reasons queried by the census were rather broad and may not encompass realities that cross multiple selections. Fourth, we were unable to obtain more granular data on resident race and ethnicity, so those who responded with two categories, for example, were double counted in analyses using race/ethnicity. However, this group of residents accounted for only 1.2% of the study population and likely had limited effects on our results. Finally, the question of what interventions could prevent resident attrition is also left unanswered, and provides fertile ground for future research.