Poster5 - 06: RESIDENT WELLNESS DURING GENERAL SURGERY TRAINING: A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE
Zuhaib M Mir, MD1, Kristin DeGirolamo, MD2, Bonnie Shum, MD3, Boris Zevin, MD, PhD1; 1Department of Surgery, Queen's University, 2Department of Surgery, The University of British Columbia, 3Department of Surgery, McMaster University
General Surgery residents have one of the highest attrition rates amongst surgical trainees in Canada. Future employment concerns, work-life balance, and hours worked are factors that contribute to the decision to leave General Surgery residency training. Our study aimed to assess residents’ feelings relating to their mental health, physical health, and wellness during General Surgery residency in Canada. The results of our study provide training programs with important information pertinent to enhancing and enriching the overall experience of their residents.
Online questionnaire items were developed by the Residents’ Committee of the Canadian Association of General Surgeons in both French and English using a two-round modified Delphi method. Domains of the questionnaire included Family/Personal Life, Mental Health, Work-Life & Calls, Dietary Habits, Physical Activity, and Social Life. The questionnaire was distributed via email to all current trainees in General Surgery across Canada.
Our overall response rate was 32% (184/575 responses). The majority of respondents (57%) were 25-29 years old. There were equal numbers of respondents that identified as female and male (51% vs 48%; p = 0.597). Fifty-seven percent of residents felt unable to spend sufficient time with family; however, most residents (78%) would not change programs to accommodate childbearing. Sixty-nine percent of respondents have supports within their residency program for personal concerns, whereas 90% have supports outside of their programs. Ninety-one percent of respondents felt their physical activity decreased during residency, and the lack of healthy food options overnight/on-call contributed towards this overall decline in physical health. With respect to working relationships, most residents felt comfortable asking for help from senior colleagues (87%) or attending staff (70%). Ultimately, 86% of residents would still not choose a different residency specialty if given the choice, in comparison to 14% that would (p < 0.001).
The results of our survey demonstrate that most Canadian General Surgery residents value their training and spend a lot of time completing tasks related to residency responsibilities. More often than not, this is at the expense of their nutrition, physical activities, and mental health/mindfulness. Therefore, specific interventions aimed at improving General Surgery resident wellness are warranted.