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Original Research

Work stress on resident doctors in a tertiary care hospital in Eastern India: A qualitative study from the outlook of residents

Naveen Kumar Gupta, Uttam Kumar Paul, Dilip Kumar Pal.


Background: Hospitals present a complex and challenging environment to resident doctors. The perception of ever-increasing work stress on residents has been the topic for multiple studies previously. In this study, we explore the perspective of resident doctors working in a premier tertiary care hospital in Eastern India about their work stress.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to investigate the causes of work stress on residents in a tertiary care hospital in Eastern India and to find out the perceived solutions to ease the work stress on residents.

Materials and Methods: The study was done in the department of urology at a tertiary health care center in Eastern India. The study comprised of in depth interviews and focus group discussions. The interviews were audio recorded and later transcripted. Data analysis was done through deductive approach. Results were reviewed by all the authors.

Results: Work stress on residents was considered to be additional pressure which was in excess of individual capacity and led to work and personal life imbalance and depression among residents. The principal causes were lack of manpower and infrastructure, inadequate time for family, political influence in hospital functioning, and role of media in causing and aggravating patient distrust on doctors. It had a harmful effect on academic learning of residents. A combined and sustained effort is needed to reduce the work stress to improve performance and patient outcomes.

Conclusion: Persistent and disproportionate work stress on residents leads to their poor work–life balance and depression and translates into poor performance and patient outcomes. The problem is multi-factorial and solutions can be found out by a concerted effort from the hospital administration, political class, and media. Mutual trust among doctors and patients can play the most important role to reduce resident work stress.

Key words: Work Stress; Residents; Qualitative Research

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