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BJGP Open. 2019 Oct 15. pii: bjgpopen19X101671. doi: 10.3399/bjgpopen19X101671. [Epub ahead of print]

Assessing the mental wellbeing of next generation general practitioners: a cross-sectional survey.

Author information

1
MD Candidate, Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
2
Deputy Head of Career Development, Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
3
Resident, Department of General Internal Medicine, Bern, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Switzerland.
4
Resident, Primary Care Practice, Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
5
Resident, Department of General Internal Medicine, Lucerne, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, Switzerland.
6
Head of Career Development, Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland sven.streit@biham.unibe.ch.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Future and practising GPs encounter various stressors, which can potentially impair mental wellbeing and develop into mental illnesses.

AIM:

To assess mental wellbeing of young and future GPs by their level of training.

DESIGN & SETTING:

A cross-sectional anonymous survey of members of the Swiss Young General Practitioners Association (JHaS) was undertaken.

METHOD:

Basic characteristics and the current mental wellbeing were assessed using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS). Specific stressors that can influence wellbeing were focused on. Participants were asked for ideas on how to improve wellbeing via open questions.

RESULTS:

Response rate was 57% (n = 503). Mean value for mental wellbeing (WEMWBS) was 52.4 (maximum 70, standard deviation [SD] 7.2). Residents had a significantly lower level of mental health (51.0, SD 7.6) compared with GPs (54.2, SD 6.2). Overall, stress level was reported as high or very high by almost half of participants (49%). Forty-five per cent indicated a lack of private time; the highest proportion was among residents. Fifteen per cent (20% among residents) were at risk of burnout. Most frequent stressors were administrative tasks, high workload, and work demands. Support requests included improvement of work-life balance and reduction of administrative workload.

CONCLUSION:

Residents had the lowest mental wellbeing, at a stress level similarly high to that of GPs. They most often indicated not having enough time for a private life and were most at risk of burnout. Improvement suggestions should be implemented to maintain mental health of young and future GPs. Particular attention should be paid to GPs in training, as owing to their reduced mental health, they may benefit most.

KEYWORDS:

general practitioners; mental health; mental wellbeing; residency; resilience; surveys and questionnaires; training

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