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Long Distance Mentors Do Not Prevent Burnout

New OB/GYN chairs of departments did not benefit from remote support

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Long-distance mentoring of new chairs of departments of obstetrics and gynecology does not reduce the risk of burnout, according to an article published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues conducted a study of 27 new chairs of OB/GYN departments, of whom 14 were allocated a mentor who was an experienced chair, while 13 new chairs acted as controls. Stress and burnout were assessed by questionnaire a year after the intervention began.

The areas that subjects identified as most in need of mentoring were human resources, relationships with school leaders and finances, with the latter causing the greatest degree of stress, although cases of burnout were rare. No differences in burnout were seen between the chairs with mentors and the controls, the researchers report. Both the mentors and new chairs found it difficult to establish and maintain the mentoring relationship, the report indicates.

"In this study, mentors may have been ineffective because they were long distance relationships, there was not a sufficient level of interaction between the chair and mentor, or the timeframe of measurement of change (one year) was too short," the authors write. "Local mentors may have been perceived as more helpful because the relationships were personally established by the chair, and there were more opportunities for interaction."

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