Introduction: Emergency medicine (EM) physicians and trainees report high levels of burnout. Burnout negatively impacts physician well-being and career satisfaction but it remains unclear how burnout may influence patient care. We examined the degree to which EM trainee burnout at one institution was associated with patients’ satisfaction with their emergency department (ED) care. Methods: In this cross-sectional, pilot study conducted at a single institution, we measured EM trainee burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory through a confidential, electronic survey. We subsequently linked individual trainee burnout results with their individual Press Ganey (PG) ED patient satisfaction scores. We compared burnout scores across sex and postgraduate year using chi-square tests and PG results via analysis of variance. Results: Twenty-seven of 53 (50.9%) eligible EM trainees completed the burnout assessment. Trainees reported an overall burnout rate of 77.8% (95% confidence interval = 59.2%–89.4%). There were no significant differences in burnout based on sex (p = 0.888) or postgraduate year (p = 0.671). Trainee burnout was significantly associated with lower trainee-specific PG scores, including patient ratings of resident physician courtesy (p = 0.011), taking the time to listen (p = 0.004), keeping informed of treatment (p = 0.014), and concern for patient comfort (p = 0.006). There was no significant association between trainee burnout and patients’ overall likelihood to recommend the ED to others (p = 0.364). Conclusion: Emergency medicine trainee burnout is associated with lower trainee-specific PG ED patient satisfaction scores across all four physician domains. In addition to its detrimental impact on physician wellness, burnout may play a significant adverse role in patients’ perceptions of their ED providers’ interpersonal and communication skills.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine