Stress, burnout, and maladaptive coping: strategies for surgeon well-being

Bull Am Coll Surg. 2011 Aug;96(8):17-22.


Practicing physicians and surgeons, medical and surgical residents, and medical students dedicate their lives to providing optimum patient care, but doing so places them at significant risk for personal and professional stress and, ultimately, burnout. Of great concern is the fact that unrecognized stress and unmanaged burnout are more prevalent among residents than previously believed. Research shows that stress without conflict resolution may lead to burnout, which can contribute to impaired technical performance, medical errors, physical and mental health problems, and even increase the risk of suicide. Therefore, it is crucial that surgeons, and the organizations that train and employ them, recognize the early signs of stress and burnout, adopt adaptive coping strategies, and maintain a culture wherein work-life balance and surgeon well-being are shared goals.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Humans
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • United States