Podcast 587:  Puppies Preventing Burnout? - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 587:  Puppies Preventing Burnout?

Contributor: Jared Scott, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Burnout happens. This study reminds us to take a few minutes on shift to take care of yourself.
  • A new study looked at burnout in ER nurses, residents, and attending physicians where they were asked to take a 5-minute break on shift to color or play with a therapy dog.
  • Researchers measured stress levels and checked salivary cortisol levels after the breaks to see if the therapies were working against a control group who did not have the breaks.
  • Those who colored reported increased stress levels at the end of their shifts, while those who played with dogs reported decreased stress. Cortisol levels dropped in both coloring and pet therapy groups. Interestingly, patients couldn’t see any difference in their providers’ stress level.
  • Those who conducted the study believe maybe coloring increased stress only because those who colored were denied the chance to play with a dog. Go figure.



1) Kline JA, VanRyzin K, Davis JC, et al. Randomized Trial of Therapy Dogs Versus Deliberative Coloring (Art Therapy) to Reduce Stress in Emergency Medicine Providers . Acad Emerg Med. 2020; doi:10.1111/acem.13939

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Stay up to date by
joining our mailing list!