Burnout Among Beginning First-Year Students from Three Health Professional Training Programs

Andrea Roberts, Nancy R. Angoff, David Brissette, David Dupee, Deborah Fahs, Linda Honan, Samantha Korbey, Elizabeth Roessler, Michael Schwartz, Veronika Shabanova, Jeanette Tetrault, Barry Wu, Eve Colson, John Encandela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study objective was to learn about burnout prevalence among beginning first-year students from three health professional programs—Advance Practice Registered Nursing (APRN), Medicine, and Physician Associate (PA) training. All first-year students were invited to anonymously complete a survey measuring burnout. Subscales for exhaustion and disengagement together accounted for burnout. Means and frequencies were derived for categorical variables (gender, program, and direct entry from college). Subscales were summarized with means and standard deviations. Analysis of variance and post hoc t-tests compared unadjusted differences in means. Based on results, multivariable linear regressions for total burnout and exhaustion examined associations for the independent variables. With a 97% response rate, 70% were female (the APRN program is predominantly female), and 32% began training directly after college. Female students had significantly higher average total burnout and exhaustion than males. APRN and PA students had significantly higher total burnout and exhaustion than MD students. There were no other significant associations. In multivariable linear regressions, APRN students had significantly higher, and PA students had not quite significantly higher, burnout and exhaustion compared with medical students, with no moderation by any other variables. Burnout among first-year students in all three programs was more prevalent than anticipated. Consistent with previous literature, the programs with students who experienced higher burnout used more competitive, multi-tiered grading systems and introduced clinical expectations earlier in training. The implication is that educational leaders should consider effects of competitive grading and early clinical exposure on burnout among beginning health professional students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-883
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Academic burnout
  • Burnout
  • Interdisciplinary health professional students
  • Student burnout


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