To determine whether a workshop Narrative Medicine curriculum can improve burnout among obstetrics and gynecology residents.
A Narrative Medicine curriculum was conducted at three obstetrics and gynecology training programs. An explanatory research design examined correlation between Narrative Medicine attendance and changes in survey responses. Residents completed a pretest and 1-year posttest survey that included validated measures of burnout and empathy. A within-participants design used baseline pretest scores as an internal control and measured changes in individual scores. The primary outcome of the study was change in burnout rates. Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis tests were used to analyze the data.
A total of 66 residents at three institutions participated in the Narrative Medicine curriculum. Of those, 54 (81%) enrolled in the study by completing any part of the surveys, and 43 (80%) of those enrolled had complete data for analysis. Burnout was high on all Maslach Burnout Inventory subscales and increased over 1 year. Participants with high Narrative Medicine attendance had decreased burnout on the Emotional Exhaustion subscale (−4.1 [±8.1]) points compared with an increase of 0.5 (±6.0) for low-attendance participants (U=134, P=.02, d=0.65). Lower self-care ratings were associated with improved Personal Accomplishment (+0.5 [±5.0]) compared with +2.0 (±2.7), U=84, P=.01]. Other characteristics did not significantly correlate with burnout or empathy.
Burnout was high and worsened over time among obstetrics and gynecology residents in these three programs. Higher attendance at Narrative Medicine workshops was associated with improved Emotional Exhaustion.