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Title: Poor employment conditions adversely affect mental health outcomes among surgical trainees
Authors: Kevric, Jasmina;Papa, Nathan P;Perera, Marlon;Rashid, Prem;Toshniwal, Sumeet
Issue Date: 17-Jul-2017
EDate: 2017-07-17
Citation: Journal of Surgical Education 2017; online first: 17 July
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Poor mental health in junior clinicians is prevalent and may lead to poor productivity and significant medical errors. We aimed to provide contemporary data on the mental health of surgical trainees and identify risk factors relating to poorer mental health outcomes. METHODS: A detailed questionnaire was developed comprising questions based on the 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36) and Physical Activity Questionnaire. Each of the questionnaires has proven validity and reliability in the clinical context. Ethics approval was obtained from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. The questionnaire was aimed at surgical registrars. We used Physical Activity Questionnaire, SF-36 scores and linear regression to evaluate the effect of putative predictors on mental health. RESULT: A total of 83 responses were collected during the study period, of which 49 (59%) were from men and 34 (41%) were from women. The mean Mental Component Summary (MCS) score for both sexes was significantly lower than the population mean at ages 25-34 (p < 0.001). Poor satisfaction with one's work culture and a feeling of a lack of support at work were extremely strong predictors of a lower MCS score (p < 0.001). Hours of overtime worked, particularly unpaid overtime, were also strong predictors of a poorer score. CONCLUSIONS: Australian surgical trainees reported lower MCS scores from the SF-36 questionnaire compared to the general population. Increasing working hours, unpaid overtime, poor job security, and job satisfaction were associated with poorer scores among trainees. Interventions providing improved working conditions need to be considered by professional training bodies and employers.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2017.06.030
ORCID: 0000-0002-3188-1803
PubMed URL:
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Mental health
Surgical trainee
Surgical training
Quality of life
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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