Residents Trained During First Wave of Pandemic Experienced Less PTSD

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

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

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 25, 2023 (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) versus 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]).

The researchers found that among nonresidency factors, only neuroticism was significantly higher among residents training during the pandemic versus 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 versus 10.7 percent; odds ratio [OR], 0.64; P = 0.01) and workplace trauma exposure (50.9 versus 56.6 percent; 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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