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Journal of Wellness

Abstract

Introduction: Resident physician burnout is an epidemic in medical education. There are several wellness curricula published, but few describe a comprehensive program to address wellness. Our objectives were to develop and pilot a longitudinal resident wellness curriculum and assess for feasibility and sustainability.

Methods: We surveyed emergency medicine (EM) residents from two residency programs in the United States to assess a baseline level of burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory. We developed a comprehensive and longitudinal wellness curriculum for EM residents that incorporated all domains identified by the American College of Emergency Physicians Wellness Wheel. Mindfulness practice was incorporated throughout the curriculum.

Results: A convenience sample of 106 EM residents were sent the baseline survey. A response rate of 69% was achieved, the median age of the respondents was 29 years, and 44.5% were female. Overall, 67.5% (95% CI: 50.5; 80.8%) reported burnout in at least one of the three domains of the Maslach Burnout inventory. 34.8% reported burnout in the personal accomplishment domain, 40.8% reported depersonalization, and 44.3% reported emotional exhaustion. The wellness curriculum was successfully implemented at the Georgia-based residency program. The curriculum has proven to be sustainable since it began in 2016. Quantitative statistical testing for the post-intervention survey was not possible due to a low response rate. However, subjective receivability was high, with participants describing these sessions as high-yield, informative and practical.

Conclusions: Burnout is highly prevalent among EM residents. We provide a curriculum developed for an EM residency program that is multifaceted and comprehensive, including basic wellness topics, mindfulness, financial and medicolegal issues, as well as topics that address the stresses specific to clinical emergency medicine. The curriculum has been in place in its current form since 2016 and has proven to be sustainable.

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