Original Article

CME Article: Is It All COVID-19? Resident Distress and Reasons for It in 2020

Authors: Hafiz Qurashi, MBBS, MD, Anas Atrash, MD, Michael J. Asken, PhD


Objective: For resident wellness, it is important to understand and discern the relative contributions of each factor to resident stress.

Methods: After institutional review board approval, a 20-question survey instrument was provided to 90 residents across four specialties (Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, General Surgery, and Orthopedic Surgery) at a university-affiliated health system. The survey was completed from October through November 2020 by 63 residents for a 70% participation rate. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were used.

Results: The results showed a mean change in status in either direction of 2.66 points on an 11-point scale. Status changes were both positive (less stress) and negative (more stress). Related to the source of change
in stress levels, 8 items were seen as predominantly influenced by residency training and 11 factors were predominantly influenced by the pandemic. One item was equally influenced by both. No item was primarily influenced by the sociopolitical climate. For 16 of the 20 items, changes in a negative direction were statistically greater than in a positive direction.

Conclusions: Both positive and negative changes in resident stress status occurred during the pandemic period. Traditional residency stressors remained and because all of the factors were affected by both the pandemic and residency training, efforts to mitigate the negative effects of both need to continue.
Posted in: Infectious Disease84

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Table 1. Factors showing significant change compared with the overall mean change

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Fig. 1. The three factors showing the greatest change in a positive direction.

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Fig. 2. The three factors showing the greatest change in a negative direction. COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019; PPE, personal protective equipment.

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Table 2. Factors of significant difference between changes in a positive direction and negative direction

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Table 3. Factors in which pandemic ranked as the primary source of change in stress level

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