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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Women Surgical Residents Suffer More Mistreatment Leading to Burnout and Suicidal Thoughts

Women surgical residents suffer more mistreatment than men, which leads to a higher burnout rate and more suicidal thoughts among female residents, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study that surveyed trainees in all accredited 260 U.S. general surgical residency programs.

But when the study authors adjusted for the occurrence of mistreatment (discrimination, harassment, abuse), the rates of burnout were similar for men and women residents.

“The biggest driver of burnout was whether you experienced discrimination, abuse or harassment. The more you experienced it, the more likely you were to be burned out,” said senior author Dr. Karl Bilimoria. “Mistreatment among female residents is what seems to explain their higher rates of burnout.”

Dr. Bilimoria is the director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center at Northwestern Medicine and the John B. Murphy Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The paper was published Oct. 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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