Poor Employment Conditions Adversely Affect Mental Health Outcomes Among Surgical Trainees

Jasmina Kevric, Nathan Papa, Marlon Perera, Prem Rashid, Sumeet Toshniwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-163
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • depression
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • mental health
  • Patient Care
  • Professionalism
  • quality of life
  • surgical trainee
  • surgical training

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