Original Article

A Multicenter Curricular Intervention to Address Resident Knowledge and Perceptions of Personal Finance

Authors: David W. Walsh, MD, William M. Sullivan, MD, MEd, Meghan Thomas, MD, Ashley Duckett, MD, Brad Keith, MD, Andrew D. Schreiner, MD, MSCR


Objectives: We evaluated internal medicine residents’ confidence and knowledge of personal finance, perceptions of burnout, and relations between these issues before and after an educational intervention.

Methods: We surveyed internal medicine residents at two university-based training programs in 2018. We developed and implemented a curriculum at both sites, covering topics of budgeting, saving for retirement, investment options, and the costs of investing. Each site used the same content but different strategies for dissemination. One used a condensed-form lecture series (two 1-hour sessions) and the other used a microlecture series (four 30-minute sessions) series. Residents were resurveyed following the intervention for comparison.

Results: The preintervention survey response rate was 41.2% (122/296) and the postintervention response rate was 44.3% (120/271). Postintervention mean scores for personal finance knowledge improved for basic concepts (52.6% vs 39.4%, P < 0.001), mutual fund elements (30.8% vs 19.7%, P < 0.001), investment plans (68.5% vs. 49.2%, P < 0.001), and overall knowledge (50.1% vs 36.1%, P < 0.001). A significantly smaller proportion of residents reported feelings of burnout following the intervention (23.3% vs 36.9%, P = 0.022).

Conclusions: Our findings show that residents want to learn about finances. Our brief educational intervention is a practical way to improve overall knowledge. Our intervention suggests that improving knowledge of finance may be associated with decreased feelings of burnout.

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