C2A - 11: INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE: ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS AND IMPACT OF A FORMAL MULTIFACETED WELL-BEING PROGRAM FOR SURGICAL RESIDENTS
Wendy Qiu, BS1, Cara Lai, BS1, Sylvia Bereknyei Merrell, DrPH1, James N Lau, MD, MHPE1, Arghavan Salles, MD, PhD2, Claudia Mueller, MD, PhD1, Dana Lin, MD1; 1Stanford School of Medicine, 2Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Introduction: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education now mandates initiatives to optimize resident well-being. Currently no guidelines exist to inform and shape the content of these efforts. Six years ago, our surgical residency created and integrated a formal multifaceted program aimed at enhancing resident well-being physically, psychologically, socially, and professionally. Components of the program include: recurring group sessions with a psychologist, an annual retreat, a peer mentoring program, social events, nutritional support, and a residency resource handbook. In this qualitative study, we sought to: 1) identify the most effective and valuable elements of the program and 2) probe the mechanisms by which these elements work to enhance resident well-being.
Methods: Categorical surgery residents at our institution voluntarily participated in one-on-one interviews between August and October 2017. A semi-structured interview guide was utilized to identify the most valuable elements of the program and explore its personal impact upon the interviewees. Emerging themes were discovered using an inductive approach. Team-based analysis was conducted after thematic saturation was reached.
Results: We interviewed fifteen surgical residents representing all PGY levels. Of the elements that comprise the well-being program, residents identified the group sessions with a psychologist and the annual residency-wide full-day retreat as the most valuable components of the program. Participants discussed that the combined activities in the well-being program provided an atmosphere in the residency towards: 1) cultivating peer camaraderie, 2) creating a safe space for verbal catharsis, 3) normalizing/calibrating individual experiences, 4) imparting strategies to handle stressors, 5) humanizing authoritative figures, and 6) providing accessible and free nutritional support. Residents unanimously verbalized that the existence of a department-sponsored well-being program has created a culture that values and prioritizes the comprehensive health of trainees.
Conclusion: Psychological group sessions and an annual retreat are the elements of our well-being program which appear to be most effective. The program’s existence communicates care for each resident as an individual and significantly impacts the residents’ sense of well-being. These findings may help guide the implementation of resident well-being initiatives at other institutions and for other specialties.