The 'July Effect' in supervisory residents: assessing the emotions of rising internal medicine PGY2 residents and the impact of an orientation retreat

Med Educ Online. 2020 Dec;25(1):1728168. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2020.1728168.


Background: The arrival of new residents brings challenges for residency programs and residents. Many residency programs conduct orientation sessions to help transition rising supervisory residents into their new roles, but no evaluation of their impact on residents' emotional well-being has been performed.Objective: This study assesses the impact of a half-day orientation retreat on rising internal medicine post-graduate year (PGY) 2 residents' emotions toward PGY2 year and their self-confidence in fulfilling the supervisory resident role.Design: A survey was administered to a class of rising supervisory residents immediately before and after an orientation retreat in May 2017. The survey provided participants an open-ended prompt to describe their emotions toward PGY2 year and a 5-point Likert scale to rate their confidence in fulfilling supervisory resident roles. Differences were assessed using McNemar's exact and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, respectively.Results: Forty-four of 50 (88%) eligible participants completed pre- and post-intervention Likert scales and 40 of 50 (80%) eligible participants completed corresponding emotion sections. Pre-intervention the most common emotions were anxiety (n = 33, 82.5%) and excitement (n = 32, 80.0%). Post-intervention, participants' fear was reduced (45.0% vs 12.0%; p < 0.001). Participants reported greater confidence that internship prepared them for PGY2 year and understanding of triaging and admitting principles (agree or strongly agree from 65.9% to 84.0% and from 25.0% to 68.2%, respectively; p < 0.005 for improvement by Wilcoxon signed-rank for both).Conclusions: Orientation retreats may be an effective way to reduce fear and demystify the supervisory resident role.

Keywords: July Effect; graduate medical education; mentorship.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Orientation*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires