- Open Access
- Open Peer Review
Burnout and training satisfaction of medical residents in Greece: will the European Work Time Directive make a difference?
- Pavlos Msaouel†1Email author,
- Nikolaos C Keramaris†1,
- Athanasios Tasoulis1,
- Dimitrios Kolokythas1,
- Nikolaos Syrmos1,
- Nikolaos Pararas1,
- Eleftherios Thireos2, 3 and
- Christos Lionis3
© Msaouel et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
- Received: 3 October 2009
- Accepted: 1 July 2010
- Published: 1 July 2010
The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of burnout in Greek medical residents, investigate its relationship with training satisfaction during residency and survey Greek medical residents' opinion towards the European Work Time Directive (EWTD).
A Multi-centre, cross-sectional survey of Greek residents was performed. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) was used to measure burnout, which was defined as high emotional exhaustion, combined with high depersonalization or low personal accomplishment. In addition, seven questions were designed for this study to evaluate self-reported resident training satisfaction and three questions queried residents' opinion on the EWTD and its effects on their personal and social life as well as their medical training. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical models were used for the evaluation of data.
Out of 311 respondents (77.8% response rate), 154 (49.5%) met burnout criteria and 99 (31.8%) indicated burnout on all three subscale scores. The number of residents that were dissatisfied with the overall quality of their residency training were 113 individuals (36.3%). Only 32 residents (10.3%) believed that the EWTD implementation will not have any beneficial effects for them.
Both burnout and training dissatisfaction were common among Greek residents. Systemic interventions are thus required within the Greek health system, aimed at reducing resident impairment due to burnout and at improving their educational and professional perspectives. Although residents' opinion on the EWTD was not associated with burnout levels, the EWTD was found to be predominantly supported and anticipated by Greek residents and should be implemented to alleviate their workload and stress.
- Residency Training
- Emotional Exhaustion
- Personal Accomplishment
- Maslach Burnout Inventory
- European Work Time Directive
Residency is a stressful stage of physician training during which residents work for long hours while their responsibility towards the lives of patients simultaneously increases, ideally along with their knowledge and experience. However, this is not always the case: accumulation of responsibilities disproportional to residents' knowledge and experience can be rather common and, combined with physical exhaustion, can set the scene for burnout [1–3]. Resident burnout has been associated with worse health status, substance abuse, tendency towards depression, higher anxiety and suicidal thoughts [1, 2, 4–7]. Nevertheless, two extensive reviews of the literature by Thomas (2004)  and by Prins et al. (2007)  demonstrated the surprising scarcity of published data on resident burnout. Particularly among European states, very few reports on resident burnout have thus far been published [5, 8–13]. The syndrome's repercussions do not solely affect the giving end of the health care process (health workers) but the receiving end as well; particularly, the users of health services: patients and society as a whole. Therefore, high levels of burnout in doctors can lead to poor performance, medical errors, decreased quality of medical care and deterioration of confidence in health services [1, 2, 4, 12, 14–17].
The Greek situation may be even more complex as a consequence of the peculiarities of the Greek National Health System (NHS) [18–21]. More than twenty-five years after its foundation in 1983, the Greek NHS faces a manifold crisis (financial and organizational) and is in need of urgent reforms [20, 22–26]. The medical education system is outdated [27–31], the European Work Time Directive (EWTD) is still not implemented and Greek junior doctors face the risk of unemployment due to the overwhelming inflation of medical graduates . We have previously shown that such discouraging conditions prompt an alarming percentage (70.3%) of Greek medical students to consider entering a medical residency abroad .
The organizational difficulties particular to the Greek NHS [18–26] may result in increased work stress, role ambiguity and higher uncertainty about the future prospects of residents. The underdevelopment of Greek integrated primary health care  intensifies the workload of residents working in secondary institutions. Furthermore, the widespread use of informal payments within the Greek NHS , the growing imbalance between the Greek public and private health sector  as well as the perceived inefficiency and inequity of Greek health care [18, 20, 24, 25] result in increased patient dissatisfaction which may aggravate conflicts between patients and residents. Higher work-related stress, work role problems, anxiety about the future, work overload and confrontations with patients have previously been associated with burnout [1, 2, 34–36] and may thus render those residents who do choose to train in Greece vulnerable to this syndrome.
The EWTD in Greece and its potential impact on residency training
The EWTD regulates the working time schedule, the annual paid leave, the characteristics of night shift duties and the time to rest after on-call duty. European Member States were thus obliged to gradually reduce the working hours of residents to no more than 48 hours per week by 1 August 2009 . This directive was incorporated in Greek Legislation by the presidential edict 76/05 (2005). However, at the time of writing and the latest revision of this manuscript (June 2010), the new working hour limits have yet to be implemented in Greece.
It should be noted that concerns have been expressed regarding the EWTD effects on resident training, especially on surgical residents who may experience reductions in the number of didactic outpatient and operative sessions, as well as discontinuity of presence during clinical and postoperative care [38–42]. Such problems may be more pronounced in Greece due to the notable limitations of structured resident training [27–30]. Particularly in the surgical residencies, log-books have not been formally adopted by all training centers, the residency curricula among the various clinics have not been systematized and significant heterogeneity in quality of the various training programs exists [29, 31]. The Greek educational system is thus largely based on the informal practical training of younger residents by those most experienced. Decreasing the active working hours may reduce clinical and operative experience as well as significantly limit the time available for senior residents or specialists to teach younger residents .
The overall aim of this study is to report the prevalence of burnout syndrome among Greek medical residents. In addition, Greek residents' satisfaction and opinion on aspects of their training are investigated. This study also reports on Greek residents' attitudes towards the EWTD as well as the demographic and work-related factors that are associated with these opinions. Furthermore, the present study aims to delineate the relationship of burnout scores with Greek residents' demographic characteristics, residency field, future outlook, self-reported training satisfaction and subjective perceptions towards the EWTD.
Participants and data collection
Eight major Greek hospitals, all with a capacity of over 200 beds, representing three large Greek cities (Athens/Piraeus, Heraklion and Volos) and covering 30 different specialties were selected for this cross-sectional study. The Greek system does not allow official residency training in private hospitals and therefore all institutions surveyed in this study were public. Every resident was given a number according to the official enrolment lists that had been kindly provided by each of the hospitals. Out of 1407 eligible residents in all hospitals, 400 (50 from each hospital) were randomly selected by a computerized method to participate in the sample, a number that represents approximately 4% of the total number of residents training in Greece . Attendance was elective and all participants were informed that responses would be anonymous and were blinded to the scope and purpose of the study. The residents were asked to return the completed questionnaires to a sealed box provided in each hospital.
Our survey used a two-stage cluster sampling design and a design effect value of 2.0 was thus adopted. There are currently approximately 10 300 residents training in Greece . A minimum sample size of 296 was thus required for this survey to represent the population of Greek residents at the 95% confidence level and a confidence interval of 8. The questionnaire was administered to 400 residents and 311 completed questionnaires were returned and included in this study.
The first 9 questions queried the socio-demographic profile, specialty choices and the respondents' opinion on their future employment. We combined residencies according to their conceptual and occupational relations and formed four different medical 'fields': a. internal medicine (n = 108; paediatrics and neurology were also included in this group) b. surgical specialties (n = 135) c. diagnostic and laboratory specialties (n = 45) and d. general practice (n = 23). The second part of the questionnaire was devoted to medical training quality. These questions were developed based on a list of factors related to residents' satisfaction with the quality of their training programs that were identified by a review of the relevant literature [44–46]. Residents were asked to rate their opinion of seven statements regarding their residency training on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from "strongly disagree" (score of 1) to "strongly agree" (score of 5). The third part consisted of three multiple choice questions ("Yes", "No" or "I do not know/do not have an opinion") querying residents' opinion on the EWTD and its effects on their personal and social life and their medical training.
The last part of the survey assessed resident burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)  which is the most established and widely used measure of burnout among physicians . The MBI is a 22-item questionnaire that evaluates the 3 domains of burnout: emotional exhaustion (measured by 9 items), depersonalization (measured by 5 items) and lack of personal accomplishment (measured by 8 items) . Respondents rate the frequency of burnout symptoms on a 7-point Likert-scale ranging from 0 (never) to 6 (daily) and independent scores are calculated for each of the 3 components of burnout. Each component score was categorized as "low", "moderate" or "high" based on previous results on 1104 medical professionals . Thus, scores on emotional exhaustion of ≥ 27 were considered high, of 19-26 moderate, and of ≤ 18 low. Depersonalization scores of ≥ 10 were considered high, of 6-9 moderate and of ≤ 5 low. Personal accomplishment scores of ≤ 33 were considered low, of 34-39 moderate and of ≥ 40 high. A high classification on the emotional exhaustion or depersonalization subscales relates to higher professional burnout, while the personal accomplishment subscale has an inverse relationship to burnout with lower personal accomplishment scores indicating higher professional burnout . According to previously established criteria  considered to be the most accurate in obtaining a dichotomous burnout score [2, 48], resident responses with a high score on the emotional exhaustion subscale combined with a high score on depersonalization or a low score on personal accomplishment were classified as having burnout. The Greek translation of the MBI has been previously validated  and used among Greek health care professionals [50–52].
Variables were maintained as continuous or categorical according to their original form in the questionnaire. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was applied for analysis of variance in all continuous variables. The choice of methods for statistical testing of continuous variables was based on whether the data permitted parametric or non-parametric analysis. Categorical variables were compared using Pearson's chi-square tests. Multivariate analysis was performed using linear regression analysis. Reliability of the three MBI subscales was determined using Cronbach's alpha. A minimum alpha value of 0.70 is generally desirable . A P-value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. P- values of post hoc paired comparisons, following Kruskal Wallis or chi-square tests, were adjusted with the Bonferroni method.
Resident demographic profile and specialty.
Median: 32 years
Range: 26-45 years
3. Hospital b
Achillopouleio General Hospital of Volos
Agios Savvas Hospital
General Hospital of Athens "Ippokrateio"
General Hospital of Athens "Laiko"
Nikaia General Hospital
Venizeleio General Hospital
4. Marital Status a
Married or partnered
5. Have children a
Obstetrics and gynaecology
Resident Burnout, Future Outlook, Opinion on Residency Training and on the European Work Time Directive.
Do you believe it will be hard finding/keeping a job as a physician in the future?
I don't Know
Opinion on medical residency training a, b
Disagree (scores of 1 or 2)
Neither agree nor disagree (score of 3)
Agree (scores of 4 or 5)
My supervisors care about my residency training
I am satisfied with the overall quality of CME I have participated in during my residency training
I do too much scutwork/paperwork during my residency
I dedicate considerable time on patient care
I am satisfied with the responsibilities and time given to me for patient care
I am satisfied with the level of teamwork and support from my peers
I am satisfied with the overall quality of training in my clinic
Opinion on the European Work Time Directive (EWTD) a
I don't Know
Implementing the EWTD is necessary
The EWTD will be beneficial to my personal and social life
The EWTD will have positive effects on the quality of my residency training
Maslach Burnout Inventory Scores c
A considerable portion of respondents (46.6%) were unoptimistic about their future employment prospects as physicians and 29.9% were oblivious to what their future might bring (Table 2). These proportions were not significantly affected by the respondents' medical field or demographic variables (Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance and Pearson's chi-square tests, P-values > 0.1) with the exception of hospital of residency. More specifically, 32 respondents training at one General Hospital of Crete (66.7%) believed that it will be hard to find or keep a job as a physician in the future, a percentage that is significantly higher compared to responses from all other hospitals (Pearson's chi-square tests, P < 0.05 following adjustment with the Bonferroni method).
As shown in Table 2, a substantial proportion of residents believed that their supervisors are indifferent towards their training and were dissatisfied with the overall quality of training in their clinic and with their continuous medical education (CME) activities. Furthermore, approximately 3 in every 5 Greek residents asserted that their daily residency schedule is hampered by too much 'scutwork' (menial tasks). On the other hand, a sizable proportion of residents (44.7%) did feel that they dedicate a considerable amount of time to their patients' care, yet a notable fraction of these residents (22.3%) were dissatisfied with the patient care responsibilities that they are administered, and only 43.1% felt that the time they invested in patient care was well spent. On a more positive note, more than half of the residents (56.9%) conveyed their satisfaction with the level of support and cooperation with their peers (Table 2). Residents' gender, marital status and parenthood did not significantly modify any of the satisfaction scores (Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance, P-values > 0.05) while age significantly correlated (Spearman rank correlation), albeit weakly, with only two variables, i.e. older residents were more likely to be dissatisfied with peer interactions (r = -0.121, P = 0.033) and less likely to feel that they are doing too much 'scutwork' (r = -0.142, P = 0.012).
Residents' opinions on their supervisors' interest towards their training, on the merit of their CME activities, on the responsibilities and time given to them for patient care and on the overall quality of training in their clinic were similar between the four medical fields (Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance, P-values > 0.1). However, surgical residents were less likely to report satisfaction with peer interactions compared to the other groups (Mann-Whitney U tests, P-values were < 0.01 following adjustment with the Bonferroni method). Furthermore, those belonging in the diagnostic and laboratory specialties group were less likely to report excessive 'scutwork' during their residency training compared to those training in the internal medicine, surgical or general practice fields (Mann-Whitney U tests; P-values were < 0.05 following adjustment with the Bonferroni method).
Opinion on the EWTD
The predominant opinion among medical residents training in Greece is that implementing the EWTD is a necessary step (74.9%) and that the EWTD will be beneficial to their personal and social life (74.3%). In comparison, the percentage of residents who feel that the EWTD will have positive effects on their quality of training was lower (55.9%) but still represented more than half of the total responses (Table 2). Only 32 residents (10.3%) stated that the EWTD will not have beneficial effects on any aspect of their life. Pearson's chi-square tests did not reveal any significant differences (P-values > 0.1) on EWTD attitudes between the four medical fields. Likewise, residents' age, gender, marital status, parenthood and hospital of training did not significantly modify any of the EWTD responses (Pearson's chi-square tests and Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance, all P-values > 0.05).
Factors related to resident burnout
Respondents' demographics, residency field and opinions on the EWTD did not correlate significantly with any of the MBI subscales (Spearman rank correlations, Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance and Mann-Whitney U tests, all P-values > 0.05). Due to Greek hospitals varying in specialties for residency training they offer, these two variables are not independent of each other and may thus confound interpretations of their potential relationship to burnout. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to adjust for this potential confounding effect. The linear regression models showed that neither residents' hospital of training nor their residency field affected the MBI subscale scores (P-values > 0.05). Residents' opinion on their future prospects did not affect their depersonalization and personal accomplishments scores (Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance, all P-values > 0.1). However, residents who believed that it will be difficult to find employment as physicians in the future demonstrated significantly higher emotional exhaustion (Mann-Whitney U tests, P-values were < 0.05 following adjustment with the Bonferroni method), compared to those who were unsure or those who did not have such concerns.
Correlation between the Maslach Burnout Inventory subscales and residents' opinions on their residency training (n = 311).
My supervisors care about my residency training a
r = -0.124
r = -0.133
r = +0.224
P = 0.029c
P = 0.019c
P < 0.001c
I am satisfied with the overall quality of CME I have participated in during my residency training a
r = -0.060
r = -0.150
r = +0.177
P = 0.289
P = 0.008c
P = 0.002c
I do too much scutwork/paperwork during my residency a
r = +0.218
r = +0.088
r = -0.252
P < 0.001c
P = 0.122
P < 0.001c
I spend considerable time on patient care a
r = +0.116
r = -0.031
r = +0.275
P = 0.041c
P = 0.59
P < 0.001c
I am satisfied with the responsibilities and time given to me for patient care a
r = -0.087
r = +0.012
r = +0.173
P = 0.127
P = 0.831
P = 0.002c
I am satisfied with the level of teamwork and support from my peers a
r = -0.113
r = -0.214
r = +0.323
P = 0.046c
P < 0.001c
P < 0.001c
I am satisfied with the overall quality of training in my clinic a
r = -0.089
r = -0.071
r = +0.147
P = 0.118
P = 0.213
P = 0.009c
The present, multi-institutional study is to our knowledge the largest published study of burnout among Greek physicians in general and medical residents in particular. Burnout was found to be highly prevalent in Greek residents with approximately one half of respondents meeting the criteria for burnout and 3 in 10 medical residents scoring high in all domains of burnout. These results are more than two-fold higher compared to data from other European Union countries [5, 8, 54]. A number of factors specific to the Greek health care system may help explain this discrepancy. Health care in Greece is provided by the country's NHS, by the private sector and by certain public insurance organizations, including the National Foundation for Social Insurance (IKA), which function as bilateral monopolies similarly to the U.S.A. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). A strong lack of coordination between these alternative forms of health care delivery has generated a number of challenging structural problems in the Greek health sector . Furthermore, general practice and primary and preventive care are severely underdeveloped in Greece . Notably, a recent study has demonstrated the need for a 619% increase in Greek generalist physicians in order to alleviate the current deficiencies in primary health care . Consequently, the on-call personnel of secondary institutions are encumbered by exhaustive workloads that can aggravate resident burnout levels.
Various studies have examined the relationship between resident burnout and demographic factors, showing weak or negative associations [1, 2]. These data, although often limited by small sample sizes, indicate that individual demographic factors may not be consistently associated with resident burnout . Indeed, the present study did not find any significant relationships between burnout subscales and respondents' gender, marital status, age and parenthood. It should be noted that higher depersonalization scores among male respondents, when compared to female respondents, has been a very common finding among previous studies [2, 8, 35, 56]. However, other studies, particularly those conducted in a Greek setting, have reported no significant association between depersonalization and gender among health professionals [52, 57–59]. Similar results have been reported in other Greek populations, including a study of 200 elementary teachers  as well as a validation study of the MBI-Educators Survey in 771 Greek Cypriot teachers . The results of the present study, based on the largest sample of Greek physicians reported to date, are consistent with the above data and may indicate the influence of cross-cultural variation or of other unknown factors on the relationship between gender and burnout scores.
In agreement with a previous study, specifically reporting on the effect of resident specialty on burnout scores , residency field did not affect burnout scores among Greek residents. However, further research using larger sample sizes will be required to corroborate this finding. Furthermore, no difference between resident burnout levels was found among the Greek hospitals surveyed (all with > 200-bed capacity), indicating that residency in large Greek hospitals will equally predispose a young physician to burnout.
It is of note that almost half of the present study's respondents believed that their future professional perspectives as medical doctors were dim, irrespective of their medical specialty or other demographic variables, with the exception of hospital of training. More specifically, residents training at one general hospital located in the city of Heraklion (Crete) were significantly more likely to be unoptimistic about their future employment prospects compared to their peers from any of the other hospitals surveyed. The present study did not ask respondents about a number of individual, familial, cultural, economic and workplace determinants which may influence self-perceived job insecurity [62, 63]. Such unmeasured potential confounders may explain the observed institutional difference in this study and should be explored in future research. Self-reported job insecurity has been associated with lower mental and physical health [64, 65]. Previous studies have reported higher rates of burnout among internal medicine residents feeling uncertain about their future  as well as orthopaedic residents who had increased anticipation of debt at the end of training . Accordingly, it was presently shown that Greek residents feeling uncertain about their future working prospects were significantly more likely to be emotionally exhausted, although it should be noted that no effects on depersonalization or personal accomplishment were observed.
A considerable proportion of Greek residents were found to be dissatisfied with the quality of their residency training, CME activities, work responsibilities and supervisors' interest towards their training. Furthermore, the majority of residents felt that their daily schedule involved too much routine and trivial medical paperwork. It should be noted that these subjective perceptions were significantly associated, albeit weakly, with burnout subscales and may thus provide potential targets for systemic interventions. In addition, a large number of Greek medical residents were satisfied with peer interaction and support and this parameter also positively correlated with better personal accomplishment scores. Therefore, such reciprocal relationships should both be maintained and further encouraged.
A striking finding of this study was the predominant demand for the EWTD by Greek residents, regardless of specialty. Not even the valid concerns posed by surgical residents in other European Union countries [38–42] could attenuate this strong appeal for limiting the working hours of Greek junior doctors. However, no association was noted between Greek residents' opinion towards the EWTD and burnout. Previous research has not shown a significant relationship between resident work hours and burnout scores [9, 67]. Moreover, Gelfand et al. found that decreasing resident working hours from 100.7 to 82.6 per week did not significantly affect burnout rates of surgical residents. Taken together, these data suggest that the ETWD implementation will likely improve personal and social aspects of Greek residents' life but may not affect burnout levels per se. Thus, further interventions will be necessary to prevent burnout among residents in Greece.
Descriptive analysis of previously published burnout data in Greek doctors and comparison with the present study.
Study authors and publication year
Comparable data from the present study
Internal medicine residents (n = 141) and internal medicine specialists (n = 103) of two Greek public hospitals
Panagopoulou et al, 2006
Internal medicine residents:
High EE in 70 (49.6%)
High DP in 86 (61.0%)
Internal medicine specialists:
High EE in 32 (31.0%)
High DP in 9 (8.7%)
All residents (n = 311):
High EE in 176 (56.6%)
High DP in 206 (66.2%)
Internal medicine residents (n = 39):
High EE in 23 (59.0%)
High DP in 30
No significant differences in burnout rates between the present study's residents (both total and internal medicine subgroup) and Panagopoulou et al.'s internal medicine residents were observed (P-values > 0.05). Burnout rates in the present study's residents were significantly higher compared to the internal medicine specialists group (P-values < 0.001)
Panagopoulou et al. did not include data on PA
Employees (n = 58) of two Pediatric Oncology Units and a Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit in a Greek children's hospital
Liakopoulou et al, 2008
High EE in 24 (41.4%)
High DP in 5 (8.6%)
Low PA in 11 (19%)
High EE in 176 (56.6%)
High DP in 155 (49.8%)
Low PA in 147 (47.3%)
The present study showed increased rates of high EE (P = 0.033), high DP (P < 0.001) and low PA (P < 0.001)
Liakopoulou et al. used different criteria to define high DP (scores ≥ 13) and low PA (scores ≤ 31). For comparison purposes, we adjusted our data to these criteria. The participants of this study were a heterogeneous group that included doctors, nurses and psychosocial staff
Family doctors of 12 European countries (n = 1393) including Greece (n = 45)
Soler et al, 2008
High EE in 599 (43%)
High DP in 492 (35.3%)
Low PA in 445 (32%)
Greek general practitioners
High EE in 14 (31.1%)
High DP in 33 (73.3%)
Low PA in 41 (91.1%)
All residents (n = 311):
High EE in 176 (56.6%)
High DP in 206 (66.2%)
Low PA in 182 (58.5%)
Greek general practice residents (n = 23)
High EE in 11 (47.8%)
High DP in 14 (60.9%)
Low PA in 13 (56.5%)
Compared to the total number of family doctors surveyed in 12 European countries, Greek residents showed significantly increased rates of high EE (P < 0.001), high DP (P < 0.001) and low PA (P < 0.001) while the Greek general practice residents had similar EE rates (P > 0.05), higher DP rates (P = 0.011) and increased rates of low PA (P = 0.013). Compared to the Greek arm of the study, Greek residents had significantly increased rates of high EE (P = 0.001), similar DP (P > 0.05) reduced rates of low PA scores, while Greek general practice residents had similar rates of EE and DP (P > 0.05) but reduced rates of low PA (P < 0.001)
Limitations and strengths
The present study's limitations include the cross-sectional design which prevented determination of causality. Furthermore, training satisfaction was documented by questions constructed by the authors based on a review of the relevant literature [44–46] and not with a validated instrument. While the response rate was considerably higher than what is typical of physicians , the possibility of response biases cannot be excluded. In order to fully protect residents' anonymity, we were unable to collect any further data on non-respondents. Residents with burnout symptoms may have been less willing to complete and return the questionnaire. Thus, the prevalence of overall burnout could range from 39.5% if all 89 non-respondents were not burnt out, to 60.8% if all non-respondents were burnt out. However, even if the first scenario is true, a burnout prevalence of 39.5% is approximately two-fold higher compared to medical residents from other European Union countries [5, 8, 54].
Our study also has a number of strengths. It is a large, multi-institutional study in a wide range of residency programs, conducted in three geographically distant Greek cities, although it must be noted that our population was biased towards large centres, each a capacity of over 200 beds. Moreover, we applied a validated and widely used instrument to measure resident burnout, which allowed direct comparisons with different populations and with other samples of medical residents and physicians. Our burnout data are consistent with previous reports, and the present study is the first to document Greek residents' training satisfaction, opinions on the EWTD and job insecurity, as well as being the first to correlate these factors with burnout dimensions.
In conclusion, the present study provided data on the prevalence of burnout syndrome among Greek residents and their dissatisfaction with residency training and job insecurity, both of which were associated with burnout subscales. Furthermore, this study documented the predominant support and anticipation of the EWTD by Greek residents, although opinion on the EWTD was not associated with resident burnout scores. Considerable moderation of Greek resident burnout levels, complemented with substantial improvements of their training satisfaction, are needed in order to enhance Greek health care quality as well as decrease the incidence of medical errors. The present study indicates that the gradual limitation of working hours will be a short-term measure that may not significantly alleviate resident burnout levels if it is not supplemented by concurrent long-term reforms of residency training in combination with novel patterns of care management, stress reduction programs and other systemic interventions.
- Thomas NK: Resident burnout. Jama. 2004, 292: 2880-2889. 10.1001/jama.292.23.2880.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Prins JT, Gazendam-Donofrio SM, Tubben BJ, van der Heijden FM, van de Wiel HB, Hoekstra-Weebers JE: Burnout in medical residents: a review. Medical education. 2007, 41: 788-800. 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2007.02797.x.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Butterfield PS: The stress of residency. A review of the literature. Arch Intern Med. 1988, 148: 1428-1435. 10.1001/archinte.148.6.1428.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Shanafelt TD, Bradley KA, Wipf JE, Back AL: Burnout and self-reported patient care in an internal medicine residency program. Annals of internal medicine. 2002, 136: 358-367.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- van der Heijden F, Dillingh G, Bakker A, Prins J: Suicidal thoughts among medical residents with burnout. Arch Suicide Res. 2008, 12: 344-346. 10.1080/13811110802325349.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hillhouse JJ, Adler CM, Walters DN: A simple model of stress, burnout and symptomatology in medical residents: a longitudinal study. Psychology, Health & Medicine. 2000, 5: 63-73. 10.1080/135485000106016.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lemkau JP, Purdy RR, Rafferty JP, Rudisill JR: Correlates of burnout among family practice residents. Journal of medical education. 1988, 63: 682-691.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Prins JT, Hoekstra-Weebers JE, van de Wiel HB, Gazendam-Donofrio SM, Sprangers F, Jaspers FC, van der Heijden FM: Burnout among Dutch medical residents. International journal of behavioral medicine. 2007, 14: 119-125. 10.1007/BF03000182.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Biaggi P, Peter S, Ulich E: Stressors, emotional exhaustion and aversion to patients in residents and chief residents - what can be done?. Swiss Med Wkly. 2003, 133: 339-346.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Nyssen AS, Hansez I, Baele P, Lamy M, De Keyser V: Occupational stress and burnout in anaesthesia. Br J Anaesth. 2003, 90: 333-337. 10.1093/bja/aeg058.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- McManus IC, Keeling A, Paice E: Stress, burnout and doctors' attitudes to work are determined by personality and learning style: a twelve year longitudinal study of UK medical graduates. BMC Med. 2004, 2: 29-10.1186/1741-7015-2-29.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Prins JT, van der Heijden FM, Hoekstra-Weebers JE, Bakker AB, van de Wiel HB, Jacobs B, Gazendam-Donofrio SM: Burnout, engagement and resident physicians' self-reported errors. Psychol Health Med. 2009, 14: 654-666. 10.1080/13548500903311554.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Prins JT, Hoekstra-Weebers JE, Gazendam-Donofrio SM, Van De Wiel HB, Sprangers F, Jaspers FC, Van Der Heijden FM: The role of social support in burnout among Dutch medical residents. Psychol Health Med. 2007, 12: 1-6. 10.1080/13548500600782214.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Stimmel B: The Libby Zion case revisited: what have we learned?. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine, New York. 1998, 65: 301-302. discussion 303PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Barden CB, Specht MC, McCarter MD, Daly JM, Fahey TJ: Effects of limited work hours on surgical training. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2002, 195: 531-538. 10.1016/S1072-7515(02)01242-5.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Martini S, Arfken CL, Churchill A, Balon R: Burnout comparison among residents in different medical specialties. Acad Psychiatry. 2004, 28: 240-242. 10.1176/appi.ap.28.3.240.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- West CP, Tan AD, Habermann TM, Sloan JA, Shanafelt TD: Association of resident fatigue and distress with perceived medical errors. Jama. 2009, 302: 1294-1300. 10.1001/jama.2009.1389.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Mossialos E, Allin S, Davaki K: Analysing the Greek health system: a tale of fragmentation and inertia. Health economics. 2005, 14: S151-168. 10.1002/hec.1033.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Siantou V, Athanasakis K, Kyriopoulos J: The Greek healthcare system. World Hosp Health Serv. 2009, 45: 32-34.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tountas Y, Karnaki P, Pavi E: Reforming the reform: the Greek National Health System in transition. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2002, 62: 15-29.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Exadaktylos NM: Organisation and financing of the health care systems of Bulgaria and Greece -- what are the parallels?. BMC health services research. 2005, 5: 41-10.1186/1472-6963-5-41.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Lionis C, Symvoulakis EK, Markaki A, Vardavas C, Papadakaki M, Daniilidou N, Souliotis K, Kyriopoulos I: Integrated primary health care in Greece, a missing issue in the current health policy agenda: a systematic review. Int J Integr Care. 2009, 9: e88-View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Liaropoulos L, Siskou O, Kaitelidou D, Theodorou M, Katostaras T: Informal payments in public hospitals in Greece. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2008, 87: 72-81.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Aletras V, Kontodimopoulos N, Zagouldoudis A, Niakas D: The short-term effect on technical and scale efficiency of establishing regional health systems and general management in Greek NHS hospitals. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2007, 83: 236-245.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Tountas Y, Karnaki P, Pavi E, Souliotis K: The "unexpected" growth of the private health sector in Greece. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2005, 74: 167-180.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Davaki K, Mossialos E: Plus ca change: health sector reforms in Greece. Journal of health politics, policy and law. 2005, 30: 143-167. 10.1215/03616878-30-1-2-143.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Willatt JM, Mason AC: Comparison of radiology residency programs in ten countries. Eur Radiol. 2006, 16: 437-444. 10.1007/s00330-004-2635-3.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kyriopoulos J, Gregory S, Georgoussi E, Dolgeras A: Professional profile of National Health Service physicians in Greece and their self-expressed training needs. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2003, 23: 101-108. 10.1002/chp.1340230207.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kostakis A, Mantas D: Surgical education in Greece. World J Surg. 2008, 32: 2167-2171. 10.1007/s00268-008-9653-2.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Margariti MM, Kontaxakis VP, Christodoulou GN: Toward a European harmonization of psychiatric training: the prospects of residency training in Greece. Acad Psychiatry. 2002, 26: 117-124. 10.1176/appi.ap.26.2.117.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sakorafas G, Tsiotos G: Medical education: new legislative frames, new problems, and future perspectives, with a particular emphasis on surgical education. Iatriki. 2004, 86: 481-491. [In Greek]Google Scholar
- Avgerinos ED, Koupidis SA, Filippou DK: Impact of the European Union enlargement on health professionals and health care systems. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2004, 69: 403-408.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Avgerinos ED, Msaouel P, Koussidis GA, Keramaris NC, Bessas Z, Gourgoulianis K: Greek medical students' career choices indicate strong tendency towards specialization and training abroad. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2006, 79: 101-106.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Blanc PML, Bakker AB, Peeters MCW, van Heesch NCA, Schaufeli WB: Emotional job demands and burnout among oncology care providers. Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An International Journal. 2001, 14: 243-263. 10.1080/10615800108248356.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Maslach C, Schaufeli WB, Leiter MP: Job burnout. Annual review of psychology. 2001, 52: 397-422. 10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.397.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Zapf D, Seifert C, Schmutte B, Mertini H, Holz M: Emotion work and job stressors and their effects on burnout. Psychology & Health. 2001, 16: 527-545. 10.1080/08870440108405525.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Pickersgill T: The European working time directive for doctors in training. BMJ (Clinical research ed. 2001, 323: 1266-10.1136/bmj.323.7324.1266.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Benes V: The European Working Time Directive and the effects on training of surgical specialists (doctors in training): a position paper of the surgical disciplines of the countries of the EU. Acta neurochirurgica. 2006, 148: 1227-1233. 10.1007/s00701-006-1052-6.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Morris-Stiff GJ, Sarasin S, Edwards P, Lewis WG, Lewis MH: The European Working Time Directive: One for all and all for one?. Surgery. 2005, 137: 293-297. 10.1016/j.surg.2004.11.002.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- West D, Codispoti M, Graham T: The European Working Time Directive and training in cardiothoracic surgery in the United Kingdom. Surgeon. 2007, 5: 81-85. 10.1016/S1479-666X(07)80058-8. quiz 85, 121View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Maxwell AJ, Crocker M, Jones TL, Bhagawati D, Papadopoulos MC, Bell BA: Implementation of the European Working Time Directive in neurosurgery reduces continuity of care and training opportunities. Acta neurochirurgica. 2010Google Scholar
- Bohra AK: Training surgeons. EWTD in the European capital. BMJ (Clinical research ed). 2009, 339: b5141-10.1136/bmj.b5141.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Aristotle University of Thessaloniki: Career Services Office: Position Availability for Medical Specialties in Greece Database. Available from URL. [In Greek], [http://www.cso.auth.gr/Greek/Baseis/Eid/Eidikotites.gr.htm]
- Elliott RL, Yudkowsky R, Vogel RL: Quality in Psychiatric Training: Development of a Resident Satisfaction Questionnaire. 2000, 24: 41-46.Google Scholar
- Skodol AE, Maxmen JS: Role satisfaction among psychiatric residents. Comprehensive psychiatry. 1981, 22: 174-178. 10.1016/0010-440X(81)90066-3.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ko CY, Escarce JJ, Baker L, Sharp J, Guarino C: Predictors of surgery resident satisfaction with teaching by attendings: a national survey. Annals of surgery. 2005, 241: 373-380. 10.1097/01.sla.0000150257.04889.70.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Maslach C, Jackson SE, Leiter MP: . Maslach burnout inventory manual. Edited by: Christina Maslach, Susan E Jackson, Michael P Leiter. 1996, Palo Alto, Calif.: Consulting Psychologists Press, 3Google Scholar
- Brenninkmeijer V, VanYperen N: How to conduct research on burnout: advantages and disadvantages of a unidimensional approach in burnout research. Occup Environ Med. 2003, 60 (Suppl 1): i16-20. 10.1136/oem.60.suppl_1.i16.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Anagnostopoulos F, Papadatou D: Components analysis and internal validity of the Maslach Burnout Inventory in a sample of Greek nurses. Psychological Affairs. 1992, 5: 183-202. (in Greek)Google Scholar
- Soler JK, Yaman H, Esteva M, Dobbs F, Asenova RS, Katic M, Ozvacic Z, Desgranges JP, Moreau A, Lionis C: Burnout in European family doctors: the EGPRN study. Family practice. 2008, 25: 245-265. 10.1093/fampra/cmn038.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Liakopoulou M, Panaretaki I, Papadakis V, Katsika A, Sarafidou J, Laskari H, Anastasopoulos I, Vessalas G, Bouhoutsou D, Papaevangelou V: Burnout, staff support, and coping in Pediatric Oncology. Support Care Cancer. 2008, 16: 143-150. 10.1007/s00520-007-0297-9.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Panagopoulou E, Montgomery A, Benos A: Burnout in internal medicine physicians: Differences between residents and specialists. European journal of internal medicine. 2006, 17: 195-200. 10.1016/j.ejim.2005.11.013.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Cronbach LJ: Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika. 1951, 16: 297-334. 10.1007/BF02310555.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Geurts S, Rutte C, Peeters M: Antecedents and consequences of work-home interference among medical residents. Social science & medicine (1982). 1999, 48: 1135-1148.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Gregory S, Liatsou M, Kyriopoulos J: The number of specialized doctors and general practitioners required in Greece: Delphi panel research. Iatriki. 2002, 82: 65-71. [in Greek]Google Scholar
- Michels PJ, Probst JC, Godenick MT, Palesch Y: Anxiety and anger among family practice residents: a South Carolina family practice research consortium study. Acad Med. 2003, 78: 69-79. 10.1097/00001888-200301000-00013.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Bellali T, Kontodimopoulos N, Kalafati M, Niakas D: Exploring the effect of professional burnout on health-related quality of life in Greek nurses. Archives of Hellenic Medicine. 2007, 24: 75-84. [in Greek]Google Scholar
- Bratis D, Tselebis A, Sikaras C, Moulou A, Giotakis K, Zoumakis E, Ilias I: Alexithymia and its association with burnout, depression and family support among Greek nursing staff. Hum Resour Health. 2009, 7: 72-10.1186/1478-4491-7-72.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Tselebis A, Moulou A, Ilias I: Burnout versus depression and sense of coherence: study of Greek nursing staff. Nurs Health Sci. 2001, 3: 69-71. 10.1046/j.1442-2018.2001.00074.x.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Bibou-Nakou I, Stogiannidou A, Kiosseoglou G: The relation between teacher burnout and teachers' attributions and practices regarding school behaviour problems. School Psychology International. 1999, 20: 209-217. 10.1177/0143034399020002004.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kokkinos C: Factor structure and psychometric properties of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey among elementary and secondary school teachers in Cyprus. Stress and Health. 2006, 22: 25-33. 10.1002/smi.1079.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Strazdins L, D'Souza RM, Lim LL, Broom DH, Rodgers B: Job strain, job insecurity, and health: rethinking the relationship. Journal of occupational health psychology. 2004, 9: 296-305. 10.1037/1076-8918.104.22.1686.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Marcel E: Self-Perceived Job Insecurity and Social Context: Are There Different European Cultures of Anxiety?. Book Self-Perceived Job Insecurity and Social Context: Are There Different European Cultures of Anxiety?. 2007, City: DIW Berlinm, German Institute for Economic Research, (Editor ed.^eds.)Google Scholar
- Laszlo KD, Pikhart H, Kopp MS, Bobak M, Pajak A, Malyutina S, Salavecz G, Marmot M: Job insecurity and health: a study of 16 European countries. Social science & medicine (1982). 2010, 70: 867-874.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Boya FO, Demiral Y, Ergor A, Akvardar Y, De Witte H: Effects of perceived job insecurity on perceived anxiety and depression in nurses. Ind Health. 2008, 46: 613-619. 10.2486/indhealth.46.613.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sargent MC, Sotile W, Sotile MO, Rubash H, Barrack RL: Stress and coping among orthopaedic surgery residents and faculty. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2004, 86-A: 1579-1586.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Garza JA, Schneider KM, Promecene P, Monga M: Burnout in residency: a statewide study. South Med J. 2004, 97: 1171-1173. 10.1097/01.SMJ.0000129926.66568.10.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Gelfand DV, Podnos YD, Carmichael JC, Saltzman DJ, Wilson SE, Williams RA: Effect of the 80-hour workweek on resident burnout. Arch Surg. 2004, 139: 933-938. 10.1001/archsurg.139.9.933. discussion 938-940View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Mihas CC, Alevizos A, Natzar M, Mariolis AD: General practice is still an inferior medical specialty in Greece. Saudi Med J. 2006, 27: 1780-PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Liangas G, Lionis C: General practice in Greece: a student's and supervisor's perspective. The Australian journal of rural health. 2004, 12: 112-114. 10.1111/j.1440-1854.2004.00570.x.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Aristotle University of Thessaloniki: Career Services Office: Comprehensive List of Medical Residencies' Curricula. Available from URL. [In Greek], [http://www.cso.auth.gr/OldPages/Greek/DrKatalogos.gr.htm]
- Oikonomou N, Mariolis A: Three trends that undermine the Greek health system: is there a way out?. Eur J Gen Pract. 2009, 15: 67-68. 10.1080/13814780903067516.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Mariolis A, Mihas C, Alevizos A, Papathanasiou M, Mariolis-Sapsakos T, Marayiannis K, Koutsilieris M: Evaluation of a clinical attachment in Primary Health Care as a component of undergraduate medical education. Medical teacher. 2008, 30: e202-207. 10.1080/01421590802208883.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Greek Union of General Practitioners: Current National Legislation Regarding General Practice. Available from URL. [In Greek], [http://enosigi.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=34&Itemid=53]
- Kellerman SE, Herold J: Physician response to surveys. A review of the literature. American journal of preventive medicine. 2001, 20: 61-67. 10.1016/S0749-3797(00)00258-0.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.