Peer facilitation and burnout: the READ-SG pilot.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Although there is much research about the prevalence of burnout among doctors and postgraduate doctor trainees, there is a paucity of evidence for effective preventive measures.

METHODS

First-year postgraduate doctor trainees (PGY1s) in Internal Medicine at our institution were given protected time to participate in peer-facilitated monthly small group discussions on topics regarding humanism and professional development. The authors prompted participants before each session and followed a novel reflect, empathise, analyse and discuss in small groups (READ-SG) format. During the pilot period the authors administered a survey, approved by the Institutional Review Board, asking participants to rank the perceived effect of the sessions on their professional development and various symptoms of burnout, including levels of empathy, stress and motivation.

RESULTS

Out of 20 PGY1s available to attend each session over the 3-month pilot period, there were an average of 9.6 attendees per session, with a 100 per cent survey completion rate, yielding 29 surveys. A total of 21 survey responses (72.4%) reported speaking during the sessions, and 29 (100%) reported that the sessions were important to have. Average scores on a Likert scale from 1 to 5 (ranging from negative to positive, respectively) for the perceived effect of the sessions on each measure were: 4.59 for professional development; 4.38 for empathy; 4.00 for stress; and 4.28 for motivation. There is a paucity of evidence for effective preventive measures [for burnout] CONCLUSIONS: Peer-facilitated monthly small group discussions using the READ-SG method seem to have positive effects on participants' sense of professional development and symptoms of burnout among postgraduate doctor trainees.

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