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Podiatric Medical Resident Wellness: A Group Survey Study

Patrick A. DeheerAscension St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN.

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William WolfeAscension St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN.

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Joshua A. NicholsAscension St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN.

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Bethany J. BadellAscension St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN.

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Niral A. PatelAscension St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, IN.

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Background: Burnout and medical resident well-being has become an increasingly studied topic in medical degree (MD) and doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) fields and specialties, which has led to systemic changes in postgraduate education and training. Although an important topic to address for physicians of all experience levels and fields of practice, there is little research on this topic as it pertains specifically to the podiatric medical community.

Methods: A wellness needs assessment was developed and distributed to podiatric medical residents via electronic survey to assess overall wellness levels of residents and to highlight several subdomains of well-being in the training programs of the podiatric medical profession.

Results: A total of 121 residents completed the wellness needs assessment. Survey respondents indicated that they experienced high levels of professional burnout, with large numbers of them experiencing depression and anxiety. When analyzing the different subdomains of wellness, levels of intellectual and environmental wellness were high, and levels of financial and physical wellness were reported as low. In addition, free response answers were recorded in the survey regarding well-being initiatives that have been implemented in residency programs, and in many cases no such programs are reported to exist.

Conclusions: Podiatric medical residents experience compromised well-being similar to their MD/DO counterparts. These exploratory survey group results are concerning and warrant further investigation as well as organizational introspection. Analyzing well-being and implementing changes that can support podiatric physicians at all levels of training could decrease the deleterious effects of burnout in all its forms.

Corresponding author: Patrick A. Deheer, DPM, Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, 2001 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46268. (E-mail: padeheer@apma.org)