Residents Trained During First Wave of Pandemic Experienced Less PTSD

Work hours, workload, and medical errors may be targets for preventing PTSD among residents.

HealthDay News First-year residents training during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were significantly less likely to screen positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) vs residents training before the pandemic, according to a study published online Aug. 22 in JAMA Network Open.

Michelle K. Ptak, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined changes in PTSD symptoms among first-year residents training before and during the first pandemic wave (March to June 2020). The analysis included participants in the Intern Health Study (2018 to 2019 [prepandemic; 1,137 participants] and 2019 to 2020 [during pandemic; 820 participants]).

Researchers found that among nonresidency factors, only neuroticism was significantly higher among residents training during the pandemic vs prepandemic residents (score mean difference [MD], 0.9). Residents training during the pandemic reported significantly lower weekly duty hours (MD, −3.1 hours), lower mean reports of medical errors (score MD, −0.04), and higher workload satisfaction (score MD, 0.2). During the pandemic, residents were significantly less likely to screen positive for PTSD (7.1 vs 10.7%; odds ratio [OR], 0.64; P = 0.01) and workplace trauma exposure (50.9 vs 56.6%; OR, 0.80; P = 0.01) compared with prepandemic training residents.

“These findings identify work hours, workload, and medical errors as potential targets of intervention to prevent PTSD among residents,” write the authors.

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