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The Well-Being of Surgical Trainees in New England
Peter S Yoo, *John J Tackett, *Mark W Maxfield, Walter E Longo
Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Objective: To assess the current state of well-being of surgical trainees in New England.
Design: Cross sectional qualitative self-reported survey to assess the domains of personal health, finances, and management of stress and fatigue.
Setting: New England Training Hospitals
Participants: Surgical Trainees
Main outcome measures: Qualitative data regarding well-being of surgical residents
Results: 163 respondents completed the survey. 90% of respondents identified their programs as “university or academic.” Substantial cohorts of respondents reported that during training, they experienced inadequate exercise (69%%), adverse weight gain (43%), lack of appropriate primary medical care (57%) and routine health maintenance (55%), lack of appropriate dental care (59%) and vision care (20%). While most respondents found their stipend to be adequate (68%), 25% endorsed worrying about their finances. 20% had personal credit card debt >$5K, and 86% had student loans; 43% of respondents reported total educational debt of >$200K. The average respondent had an Epworth sleepiness score of 14, which is consistent with pathologic daytime sleepiness as seen in moderate sleep apnea. Most residents enjoyed coming to work each day (74%), considered their coresidents their friends (90%), however, the vast majority reported that work-related stress was either moderate (76%) or severe/extreme (16%). Most also reported that work-related stress negatively affected their overall well-being (69%), while substantial cohorts lacked strategies to reduce stress while at work, and reported major stressors outside the workplace.
Conclusions: The well-being of surgical trainees is critical to optimal patient care, career development, and burnout reduction. Surgical residents attend to their own preventive health maintenance, finances, sleep, and stress reduction with variable success. Areas for improvement are identified.


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