Log in with your email address username.


Important notice

doctorportal Learning is on the move as we will be launching a new website very shortly. If you would like to sign up to dp Learning now to register for CPD learning or to use our CPD tracker, please email support@doctorportal.com.au so we can assist you. If you are already signed up to doctorportal Learning, your login will work in the new site so you can continue to enrol for learning, complete an online module, or access your CPD tracker report.

To access and/or sign up for other resources such as Jobs Board, Bookshop or InSight+, please go to www.mja.com.au, or click the relevant menu item and you will be redirected.

All other doctorportal services, such as Find A Doctor, are no longer available.

Study quantifies junior doctor distress

Study quantifies junior doctor distress - Featured Image


Australian junior medical officers (JMOs) suffer from dangerously high levels of psychological stress that are considerably greater than in the general population, according to new research published in the Internal Medicine Journal.

The study of over 1,000 JMOs surveyed between 2014 and 2016 assessed distress according to the commonly used Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). The average score was 18.1, compared with 13 in the general Australian population shown in previous studies.

Unsurprisingly, increasing hours of work correlated with higher distress, with every extra hour worked per week increasing the odds of a high K10 score by 3%.

Smoking and drinking alcohol as ways of relieving stress were correlated with higher levels of distress, as was taking illicit drugs, which 7.7% of those surveyed admitted to doing.

Feeling ill-equipped during internship and workplace bullying were also associated with higher distress levels.

On the other hand, spending time with friends or family correlated to lower levels of distress.

Only 17% of those surveyed had resorted to professional help for their psychological distress. GPs were most commonly the first port of call, followed by private psychologists or psychiatrists.

Worryingly, nearly 20% of JMOs said that if they had their time over again, they wouldn’t choose to do medicine.

The researchers from Sydney’s Nepean Hospital said that theirs was the first study to measure psychological distress in Australian JMOs over a three-year period. The bulk of existing literature relies on data from overseas, they noted, and even that literature was skewed towards senior clinicians rather than junior doctors.

They wrote that although long hours correlated with increased distress, one of the issues was the difficulty of accurately monitoring how many hours JMOs worked, due to a culture of unpaid overtime.

They said their work demonstrated the need for a more focused approach to JMO support and education, encompassing increased administrative support, education on coping strategies and action around bullying behaviour.

You can read the study here.

The Australian Medical Association has a wide range of online resources for junior medical officers on its website.

For more information about health issues for doctors, access online resources from Doctors’ Health Services Pty Ltd.