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Half of doctors suffer from traumatic experience as trainee
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2019.03.26 12:28
  • Updated 2019.03.26 12:28
  • comments 0

One out of two physicians in Korea suffered from traumatic experiences when they were trainee doctors, a survey showed.

Intermd, an online site for knowledge sharing among physicians, surveyed 1,020 doctors asking them about the environment for trainee physicians. About 49.8 percent of the respondents said they were still distressed by the experience of working as a medical intern or resident.

The most demanding part of the training was excessive working hours with 70.9 percent of the respondents saying so. Sixty-four percent said lack of sleep was the most stressful experience.

The surveyed doctors went through excessive stress due to relatively low pay compared to intense work (45.3 percent) and difficult relationships with coworkers and senior physicians (31.7 percent).

However, the physicians had a favorable view of the “Act on the Improvement of Training Conditions and Status of Medical Residents,” enforced since late 2017.

Out of every 10 respondents, six said the new law was conducive to improving trainee physicians’ work environment, but the other four did not agree.

For the law to have a meaningful impact and change the training scenes, it should include a method to secure more workforce, 69.5 percent of the doctors said.

Some 47.3 percent said the government should actively support the training of physicians and one of the options could be to increase state spending for trainees. The other 37.7 percent said the authorities should slap a penalty against a teaching hospital if it violates the Medical Resident Act. The other 37.5 percent in multiple-reply query said hospitals should apply flexible working hours for trainee doctors.

“Reducing the maximum working hours for trainee doctors to 88 hours per week was very encouraging. However, that doesn’t mean trainee doctors can reduce the amount of knowledge and responsibility,” one of the survey respondents said. “The current Medical Resident Act seems to take away learning opportunities. We need a practical increase of workforce or an establishment of the hospitalist system.”


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