Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Most of the residents, 737 (89.4%) reported that they or a colleague experienced some problem with wellness."

 2016 Oct 31. pii: S1931-7204(16)30219-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2016.10.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Whose Problem Is It? The Priority of Physician Wellness in Residency Training.

Author information

  • 1New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY. Electronic address:
  • 2Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA.
  • 3University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • 4Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Washington, DC.
  • 5Reading Health System, Reading, PA.



Physician wellness is associated with improved outcomes for patients and physicians. Wellness is a priority of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, and many residencies have programs in place to improve wellness. This study sought to understand how stakeholders in graduate medical education perceive wellness among other educational priorities and whether these programs are improving the experience and training of residents.


The Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN)/Association of Professors in Gynecology Wellness Task Force created a survey and distributed it electronically to all OBGYN residents and program directors (PDs) in 2015. The survey included demographics, questions about the priority of wellness in the educational programs, experience with wellness programming, and problems with resident wellness (burnout, depression, binge drinking, suicide/suicide attempts, drug use, or eating disorders). Data rated on a Likert scale were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests.


Among 248 OBGYN PDs, 149 (60%) completed the survey. Of a total 5274 OBGYN residents nationally, 838 (16%) completed the survey. Most of the residents, 737 (89.4%) reported that they or a colleague experienced some problem with wellness. Many PDs also reported problems with wellness, but 46 (33.9%) reported not being aware of problems in the previous 5 years. When asked to rate the priority of wellness in resident education, <1% (1) PD stated that this was not a priority; however, 85 residents (10%) responded that wellness should not be a priority for residency programs. Resident reports of problems were higher as year in training increased (depression χ2 = 23.6, p ≤ 0.001; burnout χ2 = 14.0, p = 0.003; suicide attempt χ2 = 15.5, p = 0.001; drug use χ2 = 9.09, p = 0.028; and binge drinking χ2 = 10.7, p = 0.013). Compared with community programs, university programs reported slightly fewer problems with wellness (χ2 = 5.4, p = 0.02) and suicide/suicide attempts (χ2 = 13.3, p = 0.001). Most PDs reported having some programming in place, although residents reported lower rates of feeling that these programs addressed wellness.


There is a discrepancy between the perspective that residents and PDs have on resident wellness, and its priority within the residency program. PDs may not be aware of the scope of the problem of resident wellness. These problems increase with year of training, and may be more common in community programs. Current wellness programming may not be effective, and a significant minority of residents feels that wellness is beyond the scope of the training program.

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