Narrative Medicine Workshops for Obstetrics and Gynecology Residents and Association With Burnout Measures

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether a workshop Narrative Medicine curriculum can improve burnout among obstetrics and gynecology residents.

METHODS:

A Narrative Medicine curriculum was conducted at three obstetrics and gynecology training programs. An explanatory research design examined correlation between Narrative Medicine attendance and changes in survey responses. Residents completed a pretest and 1-year posttest survey that included validated measures of burnout and empathy. A within-participants design used baseline pretest scores as an internal control and measured changes in individual scores. The primary outcome of the study was change in burnout rates. Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis tests were used to analyze the data.

RESULTS:

A total of 66 residents at three institutions participated in the Narrative Medicine curriculum. Of those, 54 (81%) enrolled in the study by completing any part of the surveys, and 43 (80%) of those enrolled had complete data for analysis. Burnout was high on all Maslach Burnout Inventory subscales and increased over 1 year. Participants with high Narrative Medicine attendance had decreased burnout on the Emotional Exhaustion subscale (−4.1 [±8.1]) points compared with an increase of 0.5 (±6.0) for low-attendance participants (U=134, P=.02, d=0.65). Lower self-care ratings were associated with improved Personal Accomplishment (+0.5 [±5.0]) compared with +2.0 (±2.7), U=84, P=.01]. Other characteristics did not significantly correlate with burnout or empathy.

CONCLUSION:

Burnout was high and worsened over time among obstetrics and gynecology residents in these three programs. Higher attendance at Narrative Medicine workshops was associated with improved Emotional Exhaustion.

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