Research Article| Volume 220, ISSUE 2, P276-281, August 2020

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Physician mistreatment in the clinical learning environment

Published:February 03, 2020DOI:


      • Forty-eight percent of residents and 29% of faculty experienced mistreatment.
      • The most common form of mistreatment for both groups was public humiliation.
      • The most common instigator for both groups was faculty.
      • Residents and faculty do not report mistreatment.



      Mistreatment has been correlated with burnout and poor well-being in medical students, but data regarding residents and faculty are limited. The objective was to investigate the prevalence of mistreatment towards surgical housestaff and faculty and characterize such experiences.


      In 2018, the Department of Surgery surveyed housestaff and faculty on incidents of mistreatment.


      Clinical faculty (63%) and residents (72%) completed the mistreatment survey. Excluding public embarrassment, 48% of residents and 29% of clinical faculty experienced mistreatment. Residents experienced public embarrassment and public humiliation more frequently than faculty, however faculty were subjected to racially or ethnically offensive remarks/names more frequently than residents (p < .05). Faculty within and external to their department were most cited as instigators of mistreatment. Residents experienced mistreatment most often by faculty, co-residents, and nurses. Reporting of the behaviors was low.


      Incidents of mistreatment are frequently occurring for surgical residents and faculty.

      Graphical abstract


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