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    The pursuit of happiness and success in OB/GYN


    Next: The intangibles of medical training

    One of the survey respondents wrote: “The young physicians will have extreme challenges down the road.” I’m looking forward to the challenge. Our specialty and training is different today than it was when many of the respondents practiced – interdisciplinary teams, insurer oversight, changes in trainee work hours and tracking in obstetrics and gynecology are different – but that empowers us to find dynamic solutions. We (trainees) have no choice but to approach patient care efficiently and through creative modalities, because that’s what we do – sometimes even in short 140-character tweets.

    A resident survey from ob/gyn programs in Connecticut demonstrated that 13% of trainees polled met criteria for high burnout and over 50% demonstrated emotional exhaustion.1 However, a high level of personal accomplishment was strongly correlated with job satisfaction.

    It seems counterintuitive, but somehow when I make time for things outside of my daily hospital routine, I thrive. When I hear the siren song of my bed luring me after work, I must push myself to get to a workout class, meet a friend for dinner, or catch a play. I’m not waiting. I read the Contemporary OB/GYN survey and told myself that being a trainee, being too young, too old, or too tired is not an excuse. I must focus on harmony. I don’t want to respond to this survey in a decade and think to myself: I should have, could have, or would have done something differently. I’ll focus on happiness and let success happen. Right, Dr. Foley?


    1. Govardhan LM, Pinelli V, Schnatz PF. Burnout, depression and job satisfaction in obstetrics and gynecology residents. Conn Med. 2012;76(7):389-95.

    Yalda Afshar, MD, PhD
    Dr. Afshar is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Los Angeles


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