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Demographics, Interests, and Quality of Life of Canadian Neurosurgery Residents

  • Christian Iorio-Morin (a1), Syed Uzair Ahmed (a2), Mark Bigder (a3), Ayoub Dakson (a4), Cameron Elliott (a5), Daipayan Guha (a6), Michelle Kameda-Smith (a7), Pascal Lavergne (a8), Serge Makarenko (a9), Michael S. Taccone (a10), Michael K. Tso (a11), Bill Wang (a12), Alexander Winkler-Schwartz (a13), David Fortin (a1) and on behalf of the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative...

Abstract

Background: Neurosurgical residents face a unique combination of challenges, including long duty hours, technically challenging cases, and uncertain employment prospects. We sought to assess the demographics, interests, career goals, self-rated happiness, and overall well-being of Canadian neurosurgery residents. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was developed and sent through the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative to every resident enrolled in a Canadian neurosurgery program as of April 1, 2016. Results: We analyzed 76 completed surveys of 146 eligible residents (52% response rate). The median age was 29 years, with 76% of respondents being males. The most popular subspecialties of interest for fellowship were spine, oncology, and open vascular neurosurgery. The most frequent self-reported number of worked hours per week was the 80- to 89-hour range. The majority of respondents reported a high level of happiness as well as stress. Sense of accomplishment and fatigue were reported as average to high and overall quality of life was low for 19%, average for 49%, and high for 32%. Satisfaction with work-life balance was average for 44% of respondents and was the only tested domain in which significant dissatisfaction was identified (18%). Overall, respondents were highly satisfied with their choice of specialty, choice of program, surgical exposure, and work environment; however, intimidation was reported in 36% of respondents and depression by 17%. Conclusions: Despite a challenging residency and high workload, the majority of Canadian neurosurgery residents are happy and satisfied with their choice of specialty and program. However, work-life balance, employability, resident intimidation, and depression were identified as areas of active concern.

Caractéristiques sociodémographiques, intérêts et qualité de vie des médecins résidents en neurochirurgie au Canada. Contexte: Les médecins résidents en neurochirurgie font face à une combinaison unique de défis, notamment de longues heures de travail, des cas complexes sur le plan technique et des perspectives d’emploi incertaines. Nous avons ainsi cherché à évaluer leurs caractéristiques sociodémographiques, leurs intérêts, leurs objectifs de carrière, leur degré de satisfaction personnelle ainsi que leur bien-être général. Méthodes: Nous avons élaboré une enquête transversale qui, par l’entremise du Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative, a été par la suite envoyée à chaque médecin résident inscrit, en date du 1er avril 2016, à un programme canadien de neurochirurgie. Résultats: Sur un total de 146 médecins résidents admissibles, nous avons reçu et analysé 76 formulaires d’enquête remplis, ce qui représente un taux de réponse de 52 %. L’âge médian des répondants était de 29 ans ; 76 % d’entre eux étaient de sexe masculin. Parmi les sous-spécialités les plus populaires dans le cadre d’une activité de recherche ultérieure, mentionnons celles portant sur la colonne vertébrale, l’oncologie et la neurochirurgie vasculaire ouverte. La plupart des répondants ont par ailleurs indiqué avoir travaillé entre 80 et 89 heures par semaine. La majorité d’entre eux ont aussi fait état d’un degré élevé de satisfaction personnelle et de stress ; de plus, tant leur sentiment de réussite que leur fatigue ont été évalués comme moyens à élevés. Quant à leur qualité de vie en général, 19 % des médecins résidents ont affirmé qu’elle était faible ; 49 %, qu’elle était moyenne ; et 32 %, qu’elle était élevée. En outre, 44 % ont considéré que leur niveau de satisfaction en matière de conciliation travail-vie personnelle était moyen. Ce dernier aspect est d’ailleurs le seul dont l’évaluation nous a permis d’identifier une insatisfaction notable, soit 18 %. De façon générale, on peut dire que les répondants se sont dits très satisfaits de leur choix de spécialité et de programme, de leur fréquence passée à observer des interventions chirurgicales et de leur environnement de travail. Toutefois, 36 % d’entre eux ont rapporté avoir été victimes d’intimidation tandis que 17 % ont affirmé avoir éprouvé des symptômes de dépression. Conclusions: Bien que les programmes de résidence en neurochirurgie soient exigeants et comportent un volume de travail important, la majorité des médecins résidents du Canada se disent heureux et satisfaits de leur choix de spécialité et de programme. Cela dit, la conciliation travail-vie personnelle, l’employabilité, l’intimidation et la dépression ont été identifiées comme des sujets de grande préoccupation.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondience to: Christian Iorio-Morin, Division of Neurosurgery, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke, 3001, 12e Avenue Nord, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada, J1H 5N4. Email: christian.iorio-morin@usherbrooke.ca.

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