Just read an article on "Medscape" about burnout among general surgery residents. (I'd link to it, but it requires "membership.") It says, in part:
More than two thirds of general surgery residents in a national survey meet the criteria for burnout, and many of them have considered leaving their residency program because of it, a study shows.
... The study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that burnout among physicians in training has reached epidemic proportions, they write.
In a 2015 study reported by Medscape Medical News looking at burnout rates among medical residents by specialty, general surgery residents had the highest burnout rates ...I find this interesting, puzzling, and worrisome. (Also, the fact that second on the list was radiology, one of the least demanding/best-paid specialties there is.)
Okay, here's the part where I point out that in my day, we worked literally twice as hard in training as they do now. My "easy" rotations were the ones where I (in theory) got to leave for 12 hours out of every 48 (more like 8, in practice). Otherwise it was 12 out of 14 days in the hospital except, when chief resident on trauma, it was 60 days out of 60. I suppose that means it's more than just the work hours.
In a way it's like teacher shortages: years of being demonized by right-wing screamers and leaders (Wisconsin, Kansas, et al) has led -- who could have seen it coming? -- to people looking away from teaching as a profession.
Yes, most docs make more than most teachers. But there's been a similar stupidity in approaching budgetary issues: people don't want to pay teachers what they're worth; R governors, unwilling to raise taxes on anyone, would rather see public education die. And the only way, so far, people have addressed rising health care costs has been to cut payments to docs and hospitals, along with producing more and more onerous (and, often, meaningless) rules requiring more and more paperwork and useless documentation of compliance with criteria having little to do with quality of care.
I'd have thought that residents, i.e., docs not yet fully subject to the rules and regs and stresses of practice, would have been relatively insulated. But I guess not.
I don't know where it'll all end up. I loved being a general surgeon, and it also burned me out after about 25 years of practice, causing me to bail at what some might agree was the height of my skills and knowledge. Residents, evidently, are bailing before getting into it at all. This doesn't bode well for the future. Meanwhile, because of the shortened work hours for residents, it's becoming clear that people finishing training are less well-prepared than we of the iron age were. One wonders, at this point, what sort of people finish training without burnout, and why? And, given the less preparation, who is it that decides to foist themselves on the public? Are those who didn't burn out ones who don't care as much about commitment? I have no idea.
Fortunately, I've worked out how to deal with it, were I ever to need the services of a general surgeon: stay home and die.