A Comparison of Resilience and Resistance to Burnout within Doctor of Physical Therapy Students and Practicing Physical Therapists: Preliminary Results

Haley Jorgensen, SPT and Erik Keating, SPT

DPT2020 Resilience

(Click on image to expand)

15 Comments on “A Comparison of Resilience and Resistance to Burnout within Doctor of Physical Therapy Students and Practicing Physical Therapists: Preliminary Results

  1. Was there a survey question assessing if students were also working while they were in graduate school? If not, do you assume this could be a source of emotional exhaustion and burnout?

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    • Not specifically but we did track the amount of hours spent doing required tasks and the amount of free time students had per week

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    • Both Erik and I had considered adding that as one of our questions along with others (are significant others/family/friends nearby, etc.) but were concerned about survey participation and completion with an increase in the number of questions. Questions like those were cut before the final survey reached the students in order to encourage full completion of our survey and prevent burnout while taking the survey. However, I do believe that having a job would influence emotional exhaustion and burnout but further research would need to be conducted to validate that hypothesis.

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  2. Regarding the student survey, did the survey address distance from home? Since not seeing family was a major lifestyle stressor and talking to family was a coping mechanism, I am wondering if proximity to family would impact that?

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    • We decided to not track distance from home in order to maintain confidentiality of participants. Some students came to USD from afar which would make it more difficult to keep the student participants anonymous since we know what state is home for them.

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  3. You utilized two instruments in order to assess resilience and burnout in your populations of interest. Were there any other instruments you were considering? Also, do you think your results would have differed at all if numbers of each population would have been more similar? Thanks for sharing your findings!

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    • Yes! There were others that we were considering but ultimately the choice to use the CD-RISC was utilized because it was a fairly short survey that showed high reliability with testing for resilience. The Maslach Burnout Inventory was utilized due to its high prevalence in the literature and high reliability as well. I do believe that we would have received more accurate results had we obtained more responses from the second-year class. Something to keep in mind though is that our class is smaller than Class of 2021 (28 students compared to 32 students) and that both Erik and I were unable to answer the survey to avoid influencing the data.

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  4. Did you think about adding Year 3 students in this study to further confirm your conclusion that as SPTs progress through their program, emotional exhaustion decreases and personal accomplishment increases?

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    • We sent reminder emails to yr 3 SPTs, similar to yr 1/2. Perhaps other strategies to prevent this issue need to be implemented in the future.

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  5. Good poster. Did you guys find any research that maybe talks a little bit more about depression or anxiety rates among students in physical therapy school? I am just curious if there was any previous literature that indicated these mental health issues increasing throughout the programs and how they would relate to burnout. I feel like those who have already had some mental health challenges would find themselves burning out much quicker compared to those who do not have depression/anxiety. I am sure that a similar study focusing on these depression/anxiety rates would also be a good research topic for a group of researchers to look into in the future. Overall, good poster and very detailed.

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    • There wasn’t much research conducted on PT students in general which was the main reason for conducting the study. However, depression and anxiety has been studied extensively in nursing and MD students, which we touched on in our manuscript. Likely, DPT students experience much of the same mental issues due to the high stress environment of graduate school. With that, we speculate an association occurs but lack the proper data collection to run statistical analysis of this relationship.

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    • We did not find anything about depression rates or anxiety rates among those in physical therapy school. However, we did find out those with higher burnout scores are at increased risk to experience conditions like depression/anxiety in medical students. It would be interesting to see if those who do have conditions like depression and anxiety are more likely to experience burnout before their peer counterparts who do not have anxiety/depression. Good idea, Blake!

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  6. Was the survey sent out more than once? As in, did you send out the survey in both the fall and spring semester? I was just curious as to if you found there to be a change from one semester to the next between each class.

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    • We sent the email along with two reminder emails in late winter which likely impacted responses in subjects. The study should be followed up by term to see if trends we found continue throughout the year.

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