Socioeconomic factors associated with burnout among oncology trainees

Awad A. Ahmed, Stephen J. Ramey, Mary K. Dean, Cristiane Takita, David Schwartz, Lynn D. Wilson, Neha Vapiwala, Charles R. Thomas, Tait D. Shanafelt, Curtiland Deville, Reshma Jagsi, Emma Holliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Burnout in the medical workforce leads to early retirement, absenteeism, career changes, financial losses for medical institutions, and adverse outcomes for patients. Recent literature has explored burnout in different specialties of medicine. This article examines burnout among medical oncology trainees and identifies factors associated with burnout and professional dissatisfaction, including socioeconomic factors. METHODS US medical oncology programs were sent a survey that included the Maslach Burnout Index-Human Services Survey as well as demographic, socioeconomic, and program-specific questions tailored to medical oncology fellowship. Primary binary end points included burnout, satisfaction with being a physician, and satisfaction with being a medical oncologist. Binomial logistic models determined associations between various characteristics and end points. RESULTS Overall, 261 US fellows completed the survey. Seventy percent of international medical graduates reported no educational debt, whereas only 36% of US graduates reported no educational debt. Eighty-two percent of survey respondents reported their mother had at least a bachelor's degree, and 87% of respondents reported their father had at least a bachelor's degree. At least 27% of respondents had symptoms of burnout. Factors inversely associated with burnout on multivariable analysis included having a mother who graduated college (odds ratio [OR], 0.27), reporting an adequate perceived balance between work and personal life (OR, 0.22), feeling that faculty care about educational success (OR, 0.16), and being in the final year of training (OR, 0.45). Having debt $150,000 (OR, 2.14) was directly associated with burnout. CONCLUSION Symptoms of burnout are common among medical oncology fellows and are associated with educational debt and socioeconomic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E415-E424
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Oncology


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