1 University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

2 Kebbi State Medical Centre, Kebbi, Nigeria

3 NARD Secretariat Annex, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

4 Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Nigeria

5 Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Nigeria

6 Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile Ife, Nigeria

7 LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Ogbomoso, Nigeria

8 University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

9 Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, Nigeria

10 Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, Nigeria


Early career doctors (ECDs) are faced with many challenges due to their transition from undergraduate medical/dental studentship to being postgraduate doctors and being in an early phase of their career. The specific factors that affect ECDs in their careers and endeavors at the workplace range from poor remuneration, particularly in developing countries, to psychosocial problems (such as burnout [BO] syndrome). There is a dearth of information on BO among ECDs in Nigeria. This qualitative study aims to explore the opinions of ECDs in Nigeria on the causal/predisposing factors of BO, effects of BO, and strategies for mitigating BO among ECDs in Nigeria.

Using purposive sampling method, two sessions of focus group discussions (FGDs) involving 14 ECDs (key informants) holding key leadership positions and who were delegates of other ECDs in Nigeria were conducted to explore their experiences on psychological issues among ECDs. Data collected were transcribed and analyzed thematically.

BO is an issue of serious concern among ECDs in Nigeria. The causes of BO are diverse, some of which include low staff strength, prolonged work hours, wrong counseling, lack of job description and specification, and abuse of powers by trainers. In order to mitigate the issue of BO among ECDs, the respondents recommended that work policy review, medical workforce strengthening, stakeholder dialog on ECDs’ welfare, regular psychological review of ECDs, and provision of free yearly medicals need to be looked into. Conclusion: Our findings revealed that the participants considered BO issues among ECDs to be common, and it affected their performance and the overall quality of care in Nigeria health system. Based on our findings, there is an urgent need to mitigate the problem of emotional exhaustion among ECDs in Nigeria.