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J Grad Med Educ. 2017 Jun;9(3):294-301. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-16-00372.1.

Efficacy of Interventions to Reduce Resident Physician Burnout: A Systematic Review.



Studies report high burnout prevalence among resident physicians, with little consensus on methods to effectively reduce it.


This systematic literature review explores the efficacy of interventions in reducing resident burnout.


PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science were searched using these key words: burnout and resident, intern, or residency. We excluded review articles, editorials, letters, and non-English-language articles. We abstracted data on study characteristics, population, interventions, and outcomes. When appropriate, data were pooled using random effects meta-analysis to account for between-study heterogeneity. Study quality was assessed using Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (cohort studies) and Jadad scale (randomized control trials [RCTs]).


Of 1294 retrieved articles, 19 (6 RCTs, 13 cohort studies) enrolling 2030 residents and examining 12 interventions met criteria, with 9 studying the 2003 and 2011 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty hour restrictions. Work hour reductions were associated with score decrease (mean difference, -2.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) -4.12 to -1.34; P < .001) and lower odds ratio (OR) for residents reporting emotional exhaustion (42%; OR = 0.58; 95% CI 0.43-0.77; P < .001); a small, significant decrease in depersonalization score (-1.73; 95% CI -3.00 to -0.46; P = .008); and no effect on mean personal accomplishment score (0.93; 95% CI -0.19-2.06; P = .10) or for residents with high levels of personal accomplishment (OR = 1.01; 95% CI 0.67-1.54; P = .95). Among interventions, self-care workshops showed decreases in depersonalization scores, and a meditation intervention reduced emotional exhaustion.


The ACGME work hour limits were associated with improvement in emotional exhaustion and burnout.

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