For young doctors, a mentor can provide emotional support

Doc burnout
A relationship with a mentor can help reduce burnout in young doctors, says one resident.

At a time when many doctors experience burnout, a mentor can provide young physicians with more than their clinical experience.

A relationship with a mentor can help provide emotional support, writes Rosalyn E. Plotzker, M.D., on Medscape.

Many residency programs have a faculty mentoring system in place and match young doctors with more experienced physicians, says Plotzker, a resident in the department of preventative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Whether assigned or chosen, mentors are most effective when they are someone a young doctor wants to emulate, is approachable and trustworthy, wants to help and makes him or herself available, she says.

It’s worth the time to cultivate that relationship. “The time constraints that lead to burnout are, ironically, the exact reason you must devote time to create a valuable relationship with your mentor. Consider it an investment in self-care and endurance and, therefore, a priority,” she says.

Mentorship and support is one way to help reduce the dropout rate of residents which is higher in some medical specialties, such as general surgery programs.

Both individual and organizational interventions can make a difference in addressing physician burnout, write three doctors from the Mayo Clinic in a JAMA Network viewpoint piece. One study found 96% of healthcare leaders say physician burnout is a problem that needs to be addressed.