Exploring burnout and the association with the educational climate in pediatric residents in Thailand

Pongtong Puranitee*, Fred F. C. J. Stevens, Samart Pakakasama, Adisak Plitponkarnpim, Sakda Arj-OngVallibhakara, Jamiu O. Busari, Sylvia Heeneman, Walther N. K. A. van Mook

*Corresponding author for this work

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BackgroundThis study, undertaken in Bangkok, Thailand, explored the extent to which paediatric residents in a non-Western setting experienced burnout and the potential association with factors in the medical educational climate and work-related quality of life.MethodsAn exploratory sequential mixed methods design was employed in a cross-sectional study. The initial, quantitative phase used the validated Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Postgraduate Hospital Educational Environmental Measure (PHEEM) and Work-Related Quality of Life scale (WRQoL). Regression analysis was used to identify the correlation between burnout and educational climate. Thereafter, residents in all years with high levels of burnout on subscales were interviewed individually.ResultsForty-one paediatric residents completed the three questionnaires. None had high levels related to burnout in all three domains (emotional exhaustion, high level of depersonalization and perceived low personal accomplishment), seven (17%) showed high levels in two out of three domains. Emotional exhaustion and educational climate (perceptions of role autonomy, perceptions of teaching, perceptions of social support) were correlated with work-related quality of life. In the interviews, the main themes related to burnout were inappropriate tasks, teachers and teaching styles, the perception of knowledge insecurity relating to task performance, time dimensions, life crisis during training, role expectations and work allocation clarity, and facilities such as accommodation.ConclusionsThe study, in a non-Western setting, demonstrated a positive relation between educational climate and work-related quality of life. To help reduce the risk of burnout, the following factors were identified: minimize unnecessary or duplicated workload, schedule time arrangements to avoid extension of regular duty hours, and clearly define role expectations. The impact of inappropriate tasks, teachers and teaching styles (including unsafe environment) on the incidence of burnout was also highlighted. Additional studies focusing on teaching styles, safe learning climate and mistreatment in a non-Western context are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number245
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019


  • Burnout
  • Learning climate
  • Medical education
  • Pediatric resident

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