Resident Well-Being

Two health professionals interacting

Assessing Burnout Among Trainees within the Texas Medical Center

In 2018, GME at the Texas Medical Center developed a survey to assess burnout and resiliency. The duration of this research is August 2019 through August 2020. Houston Methodist is the lead site of the multi-site study.

Given the high prevalence of depression and burnout among residents and its impact on patient care, the research team is assessing burnout among trainees in the Texas Medical Center (TMC) using a survey-based instrument consisting of 20 questions and demographics. Data collected from this quality improvement (QI) initiative will be generalized/disseminated, and these data will be used to plan for interventions, if applicable.


  • Burnout is a syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (which includes negativity, cynicism and the inability to express empathy or grief), a feeling of reduced personal accomplishment, loss of work fulfillment, and reduced effectiveness. Burnout during residency training has gained attention because of concerns associated with trainees’ job performance and potential negative impacts on patient care from providers who are burned out.
  • Multiple studies have looked at burnout rates among resident physicians. Most studies report that the overall burnout rate is among 50% among trainees and ranges somewhere from 27% to 75%, depending on specialties. There is a wide variation among specialties, with mixed results as to what specialty has the most burnout.
  • Demographics also reflect conflicting results. The effect of gender has had conflicting results. Some studies report some correlation between marriage and burnout, with marriage serving as a protecting, mitigating factor against burnout. Other studies have shown more conflicting results.
  • The effect of work-hour limitations on residents has not been shown to reduce emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, or personal accomplishment scores.
  • The reason why there has been conflicting results may be attributed to the fact that most studies are single-site, single-specialty, and consist of low number of residents.
  • In the TMC, there is benefit of a large pool of residents, numbering around 3,000 between institutions. This number, coupled with the fact that every institution is represented in this study, will yield powerful, generalizable results that may reduce some of the uncertainties associated with residency burnout.

Courtenay Bruce, JD, MA, Principal Investigator
Associate Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Houston Methodist