Survey of the incidence and effect of major life events on graduate medical education trainees.

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PURPOSE: This study aims to assess the incidence of major life events during graduate medical education (GME) training and to establish any associations with modifiable activities and career planning. METHODS: The authors surveyed graduating GME trainees from their parent institution in June 2013. Demographic information (clinical department, gender, training duration) and major life events (marriage, children, death/illness, home purchase, legal troubles, property loss) were surveyed. Respondents were queried about the relationship between life events and career planning. A multivariable logistic regression model tested for associations. RESULTS: A total of 53.2% (166/312) of graduates responded to the survey. 50% (83/166) of respondents were female. Major life events occurred in 96.4% (160/166) of respondents. Male trainees were more likely (56.1% [46/82] vs. 30.1% [25/83]) to have a child during training (p=0.01). A total of 41.6% (69/166) of responders consciously engaged or avoided activities during GME training, while 31.9% (53/166) of responders reported that life events influenced their career plans. Trainees in lifestyle residencies (p=0.02), those who experienced the death or illness of a close associate (p=0.01), and those with legal troubles (p=0.04) were significantly more likely to consciously control life events. CONCLUSION: Major life events are very common and changed career plans in nearly a third of GME trainees. Furthermore, many trainees consciously avoided activities due to their responsibilities during training. GME training programs should closely assess the institutional support systems available to trainees during this difficult time.







Lars Johannes L Grimm

Associate Professor of Radiology

Charles Mason Maxfield

Professor of Radiology

Pediatric radiology. 
Radiology education.

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