City Interns, have higher burnout rates!
Or, one current intern’s shameful –but heartfelt-plug, to incoming interns.
Going through this stressful ordeal only one year ago, I often wondered about the creators of the psychology internship process? Obviously, self-care, mindfulness and mental health were not the cornerstones by which this gem was hatched. The process starts when you are at the final stages of finishing your academic year, in addition to practicum (thankfully no other life exists outside these two realms for us budding psychologists).
Forcefully sucking out any refreshing accomplishment air, you attempt to gasp as you scramble to get your letters of recommendations and essays written before those heart stopping due dates. And as the first official semester break (and I use the term ‘break’ very loosely) approaches, you gather with family and loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving; those infamous letters start arriving! I mean really….Can’t we just at least enjoy a turkey leg in peace, without feeling so relentlessly pressured? I remember thinking about those sites who choose to send their rejection letters the day before, or day of Thanksgiving. Seriously? At least the pilgrims had the heart to offer corn before the big fallout. I simply emotionally bandaged myself up that day, comforted myself (CBT style), bowed my head with the rest of the family at the dinner table, and offered my own secret version of the Thanksgiving prayer: “Dear God, thank you for a bullet well-dodged.”
It is sometimes painful to watch what we psychologist do to each other, in the name of advancement. Not to mention our statisticians and psychometricians who for some reason fail to recall that the holiday seasons usually marks the height of suicide rate among our population and possibly not the best times to send those letters. Perhaps maybe it Freudian-slipped their minds. Nevertheless, we students bear and push through the pain, adding continuous enormous debt as we optimistically back-pack across the nation (again, statistically the worse time of the year for travel) in search of that perfect internship. Relentlessly we attempt to convince ourselves that sweet, peaceful, victory is just around the turn.
And, cue Burnout.
Where does it all end, or does it ever? Here is one article to consider when deciding how much emotional stamina you have left, as you prepare to assess and ultimately rank your internship interview experience: City interns have greater burnout rates.
Apparently the growing number of stress related symptoms reported by graduates seeking mental health services while on internship prompted Doctors in the UK to study the relationship between internship and burnout. What they found is far from any earth shattering enlightenment to our generation, which is, interns sleep less, are more sad and stressed out (simplifying the results to its bare minimum)–especially those interns living in big city, and working in high-paced environments.
Luckily, there are places that offer high quality, APA-accredited internship programs like WKPIC in Kentucky (yes, another shameless plug) that come without the high burnout price tag those big cities bring.
A small start, but definitely something to CBT about.
Gallagher, P. (2013). City interns ‘are at greater risk of Burnout’. The Independent Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?URL=http://search.proquest.com.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/1426666006?accountid=34899
(Director’s Note: We at WKPIC approve this shameless plug!)