Happiness in Plastic Surgery: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of 595 Practicing Plastic Surgeons, Fellows, Residents, and Medical Students.Ann Plast Surg 2019AP
Despite a heightened appreciation for wellness in medicine, there exists little information specific to plastic surgery. The purpose of this research was to assess happiness within the field of plastic surgery.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in July of 2017 by distributing an American Society of Plastic Surgeons sponsored survey to a random cohort of current practicing American Society of Plastic Surgeons members, residents and fellows. In addition, the same survey was sent to medical students applying to integrated plastic surgery residency. Total happiness scores (Subjective Happiness Scale) were averaged and compared between and within surveyed groups.
A total of 595 individuals completed surveys, including 287 practicing surgeons, 116 residents, 12 fellows, and 180 medical students. Differences in happiness scores between the groups were statistically significant (P < 0.01). For practicing physicians, happiness scores were significantly greater for those more than 20 years out from training (P < 0.01). Furthermore, a significantly positive correlation was found between practice expectations coming out of residency and happiness scores (Pearson correlation coefficient, 0.2; P < 0.01).
Despite the prevalence of burnout and mental health disorders associated with a career in medicine, plastic surgeons and trainees report high levels of happiness. Practicing plastic surgeons report increased happiness further out from training and when meeting practice expectations coming out of training. Otherwise, there were no significant differences in happiness between groups. Regarding sex, it is encouraging to report no significant sex discrepancies with happiness in a field where women still face significant adversity.