Influence of clerks' personality on their burnout in the clinical workplace: A longitudinal observation

Cheng Chieh Lin, Blossom Yen Ju Lin*, Chia Der Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The clinical training of medical students in clerkship is crucial to their future practice in healthcare services. This study investigates burnout during a 2-year clerkship training period as well as the role of personality traits on burnout during training. Methods: Ninety-four clerks at a tertiary medical centre who provided at least 10 responses to a routine survey on clinical rotation were included in this study, which spanned September 2013 to April 2015. Web-based, validated, structured, self-administered questionnaires were used to evaluate the clerks' personalities at the beginning of the first clerkship year, and regular surveys were conducted to evaluate their burnout at each clinical specialty rotation throughout the 2-year clerkship period. Overall, 2230 responses were analysed, and linear mixed-effects models were used to examine the repeated measures of the clerks. Results: Our findings revealed that medical student burnout scores were lower in the second year than they were in the first year of clerkships. Using the Big Five personality factors, all of the propensities, namely extroversion, agreeableness, consciousness, emotional stability, and openness were related to different extents of burnout reduction in the first clerkship year (P < .05). However, only emotional stability and openness were related to clerks' reduced burnout in the second clerkship year. Furthermore, being female, older, and with accompanied living were more closely related to lower burnout compared with being male, younger, and living alone throughout the clerkship period. Conclusions: The students in the first-year clerkship, particularly those with higher burnout levels, had tendencies in the Big Five personality characteristics, exhibiting higher levels of introversion, antagonism, lack of direction, neuroticism, and not open to new experiences. The students in the second-year clerkship who do not exhibit a high propensity for emotional stability and openness should be of particular concern. The findings can serve as a reference for clinical teachers and mentors to effectively prevent and reduce the burnout of medical students during clerkship training at clinical workplaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 01 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Lin et al.

Keywords

  • Big Five personality traits
  • Burnout
  • Clerks
  • Emotional stability
  • Medical students
  • Openness

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