Otolaryngology Resident Well-Being and Perceptions of the Clinical Learning Environment

Ear Nose Throat J. 2019 Aug;98(7):409-415. doi: 10.1177/0145561319840125. Epub 2019 Apr 11.


Objective: To measure the current state of organizational and well-being factors in otolaryngology residency programs and associate these perceptions with demographics, pursuit of subspecialty fellowships, and performance on the Otolaryngology Training Examination (OTE).

Materials and methods: Anonymous mail and online survey study of otolaryngology residents from the Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and East South-Central Regions of the United States.

Summary of results: A total of 46 otolaryngology residents across 14 residency training programs (22% resident response rate) completed our survey. Residents who scored above the 80th percentile on the OTE perceived greater organizational support (median = 3.84) than residents who scored below the 40th percentile (median = 3.31), U = 48.00, P = .047, η2 = 0.14. Residents interested in fellowship reported less burnout (median = 2.44) compared to those who did not plan to pursue fellowship (median = 3.56), U = 105.00, P = .010, η2 = 0.05. Residents pursuing fellowship also reported less work-life strain (median = 2.56) than those forgoing fellowship (median = 2.89), U = 126.00, P = .044, η2 = 0.10. Residents with children reported greater work-life strain (median = 3.11) compared to those without (median = 2.56), U = 60.50, P = .008, η2 = 0.15.

Conclusion: For otolaryngology residents in this survey sample, the perception of organizational support and well-being may influence resident performance (on OTE examinations) and ultimate career goals (fellowship applications). Program directors and coordinators can use this information to strengthen the perceptions of organizational support as well as improve the clinical learning environment to optimize training conditions for their residents. Residency program directors can also use the identified study measures to assess resident perceptions of the clinical learning environment and well-being for annual evaluation and improvement purposes.

Keywords: clinical learning environment; otolaryngology residency training; well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Otolaryngology / education*
  • Otolaryngology / organization & administration*
  • Perception
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States