Research suggests that US physicians are the most stressed out during their training years and in many cases, that stress leads to burnout in the field. Medical residency programs across the country are coming to similar realizations and starting to promote that maintaining personal well-being is just as important as academic achievements. To support this initiative, in January 2017, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) approved and added a Well-Being requirement (sec. VI.C.) in the ACGME Common Program Requirements.In addition to a greater focus on improved well-being, programs are encouraged to prioritize helping residents find meaning in work; protecting time with patients; providing administrative support; and other efforts geared towards a more balanced approach in the workplace. The goal of these changes is to encourage resiliency and ensure that residents and fellows remain both physically and mentally healthy while completing their training program.
The Resident/Fellow Well-Being IndexAs part of these efforts, a key component to these changes includes the requirement that programs must provide access to tools that identify symptoms and provide resources when they’re most needed.
The Resident/Fellow Well-Being Index is a validated self-assessment tool that fulfills this requirement. The Resident/Fellow Well-Being Index is a completely anonymous online self-screening assessment where residents and fellows can accurately assess multiple dimensions of distress in just 7 questions.
From their results, they can compare their scores with national averages of their peers to get a better understanding of their wellness. Based on these scores, they have the option to explore national resources to educate themselves on popular topics to improve their overall well-being. Users of the Well-Being Index also have the ability to track their well-being scores over time with the intention of promoting regular assessment and becoming more self-aware in regards to how their professional and personal performance correlates their well-being score.
Severe burnout and distress don’t have to come with the territory during a medical residency or fellowship training. With the ability to assess well-being through the free version of the Well-Being Index, graduate medical programs can encourage residents and fellows to assess and get a better understanding of their overall wellness!