Residency program offers insight into primary care burnout

January 9, 2009

A medical residency program at New York University may offer some clues to help curb the burnout rate and increase the number of primary care physicians.

A study released in November by the Physicians' Foundation revealed that half of all primary care doctors plan to cut back or retire during the next three years. Now a medical residency program at New York University may offer some clues to help curb the burnout rate and increase the number of primary care physicians.

NYU's Bellevue Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program surveyed 104 of its graduates from the 20 years of the program. More than 70 percent reported high satisfaction rates. Only 15 percent reported feeling burned out, according to the survey, which noted the national average is 35 percent.

The reason, says Mack Lipkin, MD, co-director of the Bellevue residency program, is the focus on making residents feel effective in every patient encounter. "By training our doctors to be able to manage aspects of human care in an expert and caring manner, we transform what is frustrating to most doctors into an aspect of practice that is deeply rewarding," he says.