Promoting intern wellness within a psychiatry residency training program: A process of regular check-ins by chief residents.

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Authors: Jaimie Yung and Bo Kim
Date: Sept-Dec 2021
From: Education for Health(Vol. 34, Issue 3)
Publisher: Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 3,305 words
Lexile Measure: 1620L

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Byline: Jaimie. Yung, Bo. Kim

Background: Wellness in residency is increasingly considered a vital part of medical training. Yet to be widely explored are efforts that focus particularly on 1st-year residents (i.e., interns), who likely experience unique professional changes. We developed and implemented, within a psychiatry residency training program, a process of individualized wellness check-ins with interns by chief residents throughout an academic year. Methods: At the beginning of the academic year, a one-page baseline questionnaire was completed by interns anticipating how the chief residents can best support them. During check-ins, the chief residents asked about interns' residency experiences and wellness. The check-ins were conducted at frequencies requested by each intern. Chief residents sought open verbal feedback from the interns, and more structured feedback was collected 6 months into the academic year, using a brief four-question mid-year questionnaire. Results: Check-ins were conducted with all eight interns in the program. Baseline questionnaire responses indicated interns' preferences for more mentorship, communication across the program, and socialization. Regular check-ins started at intern-desired frequencies, and their content was guided by individual interns' questionnaire responses. Feedback from interns shaped the frequency/content of subsequent check-ins. Discussion: This regular check-in process is an early attempt to explicitly delineate what chief residents can do to support intern wellness. This process can be adapted to meet specific individual/program needs. Further work is warranted to rigorously (i) examine measurable impact of the process on intern wellness and (ii) compare the impact to those of other emerging practices that use regular check-ins to target intern wellness.


Fostering resident wellness is vital to cultivating a positive culture within training programs.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education emphasizes well-being as a required focus for residency training programs.[6] For trainees individually, wellness impacts personal and professional aspects of identity, which is important because trainees need to take care of themselves so they can in turn provide safe and effective treatment to their patients and practice appropriate and ethical medicine.[7],[8] For the larger health-care system, resident wellness is a crucial matter, as the well-being of an individual contributes to that of the larger health-care system. Fostering wellness is thus a strong investment for the professional community to make.[7],[9],[10]

Wellness is challenging for residents, especially for 1st-year residents (i.e., interns), as the first residency year is a time during which they are experiencing many changes professionally. Interns often have to move away from the supports of their community. Once the intern year is underway, they are also suddenly faced with new challenges, including a mandated change in their sleep-wake cycle and increased workload compared to being a medical student. While it is a privilege to be a doctor, these new responsibilities may also feel like a burden at times. Being a physician has its difficulties and while 'stress is inevitable, burnout is preventable.'[11]

There are recommendations for wellness and burnout prevention in the literature,[12],[13] as well as suggestions including '3 main factors associated with resident well-being in the current literature [being] autonomy, competence building,...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A702239854