From the Journals

High rates of work-related trauma, PTSD in intern physicians


Call to action

Commenting on the study David A. Marcus, MD, chair, GME Physician Well-Being Committee, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y., noted the study’s “relatively low response rate” is a “significant limitation” of the study.

An additional limitation is the lack of a baseline PTSD assessment, said Dr. Marcus, an assistant professor at Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., who was not involved in the research.

Nevertheless, the “overall prevalence [of work-related PTSD] should serve as a call to action for physician leaders and for leaders in academic medicine,” he said.

Additionally, the study “reminds us that trauma-informed care should be an essential part of mental health support services provided to trainees and to physicians in general,” Dr. Marcus stated.

Also commenting on the study, Lotte N. Dyrbye, MD, professor of medicine and medical education, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., agreed.

“Organizational strategies should include system-level interventions to reduce the risk of frightening, horrible, or traumatic events from occurring in the workplace in the first place, as well as faculty development efforts to upskill teaching faculty in their ability to support trainees when such events do occur,” she said.

These approaches “should coincide with organizational efforts to support individual trainees by providing adequate time off after traumatic events, ensuring trainees can access affordable mental healthcare, and reducing other barriers to appropriate help-seeking, such as stigma, and efforts to build a culture of well-being,” suggested Dr. Dyrbye, who is codirector of the Mayo Clinic Program on Physician Wellbeing and was not involved in the study.

The study was supported by grants from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Michigan and National Institutes of Health. Dr. Vance and coauthors, Dr. Marcus, and Dr. Dyrbye reported no relevant financial relationships.

A version of this article first appeared on


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