Burnout Evaluation of Radiation Residents Nationwide: Results of a Survey of United States Residents

Stephen J. Ramey, Awad A. Ahmed, Cristiane Takita, Lynn D. Wilson, Charles R. Thomas, Raphael Yechieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose To assess rates of burnout among US radiation oncology residents and evaluate program/resident factors associated with burnout. Methods and Materials A nationwide survey was distributed to residents in all US radiation oncology programs. The survey included the Maslach Burnout Index–Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) as well as demographic and program-specific questions tailored to radiation oncology residents. Primary endpoints included rates of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment from MBI-HSS subscale scores. Binomial logistic models determined associations between various residency/resident characteristics and high burnout levels. Results Overall, 232 of 733 residents (31.2%) responded, with 205 of 733 (27.9%) completing the MBI-HSS. High levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were reported in 28.3% and 17.1%, respectively; 33.1% experienced a high burnout level on at least 1 of these 2 MBI-HSS subscales. Low rates of personal accomplishment occurred in 12% of residents. Twelve residents (5.9%) reported feeling “at the end of my rope” on a weekly basis or more. On multivariable analysis there was a statistically significant inverse association between perceived adequacy of work-life balance (odds ratio 0.37; 95% confidence interval 0.17-0.83) and burnout. Conclusions Approximately one-third of radiation oncology residents have high levels of burnout symptoms, consistent with previous oncology literature, but lower levels than those among physicians and residents of other specialties. Particularly concerning was that more than 1 in 20 felt “at the end of my rope” on a weekly basis or more. Targeted interventions to identify symptoms of burnout among radiation oncology residents may help to prevent the negative downstream consequences of this syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-538
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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