Burnout and emotional well-being among nephrology fellows: A national online survey

Varun Agrawal, Laura Plantinga, Khaled Abdel-Kader, Kurtis Pivert, Anthony Provenzano, Sandeep Soman, Michael J Choi, Bernard G. Jaar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Physician burnout and emotional distress are associated with work dissatisfaction and provision of suboptimal patient care. Little is known about burnout among nephrology fellows. Methods: Validated items on burnout, depressive symptoms, and well being were included in the American Society of Nephrology annual survey emailed to US nephrology fellows in May to June 2018. Burnout was defined as an affirmative response to two single-item questions of experiencing emotional exhaustion or depersonalization. Results: Responses from 347 of 808 eligible first- and second-year adult nephrology fellows were examined (response rate542.9%).Most fellowswere aged 30-34 years (56.8%), male (62.0%), married or partnered (72.6%), international medical graduates (62.5%), and pursuing a clinical nephrology fellowship (87.0%). Emotional exhaustion and depersonalizationwere reported by 28.0% and 14.4% of the fellows, respectively, with an overall burnout prevalence of 30.0%. Most fellows indicated having strong program leadership (75.2%), positive work-life balance (69.2%), presence of social support (89.3%), and career satisfaction (73.2%); 44.7% reported a disruptive work environment and 35.4% reported depressive symptoms. Multivariable logistic regression revealed a statistically significant association between female gender (odds ratio [OR], 1.90; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.09 to 3.32), poor work-life balance (OR, 3.97; 95% CI, 2.22 to 7.07), or a disruptive work environment (OR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.48 to 4.66) and burnout. Conclusions: About one third of US nephrology fellows surveyed reported experiencing burnout and depressive symptoms. Further exploration of burnout- especially that reported by female physicians, as well as burnout associated with poor work-life balance or a disruptive work environment-is warranted to develop targeted efforts that may enhance the educational experience and emotional well being of nephrology fellows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-685
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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