The Missing Link: Connection Is the Key to Resilience in Medical Education

Acad Med. 2016 Sep;91(9):1197-9. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001311.


Awareness of the risks of burnout, depression, learner mistreatment, and suboptimal learning environments is increasing in academic medicine. A growing wellness and resilience movement has emerged in response to these disturbing trends; however, efforts to address threats to physician resilience have often emphasized strategies to improve life outside of work, with less attention paid to the role of belonging and connection at work. In this Commentary the authors propose that connection to colleagues, patients, and profession is fundamental to medical learners' resilience, highlighting "social resilience" as a key factor in overall well-being. They outline three specific forces that drive disconnection in medical education: the impact of shift work, the impact of the electronic medical record, and the impact of "work-life balance." Finally, the authors propose ways to overcome these forces in order to build meaningful connection and enhanced resilience in a new era of medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*