A National Curriculum to Address Professional Fulfillment and Burnout in OB-GYN Residents

J Grad Med Educ. 2020 Aug;12(4):461-468. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-19-00728.1.


Background: Physician well-being is a priority in graduate medical education as residents suffer high rates of burnout. With complex stressors affecting the clinical environment, conflicting evidence exists as to whether a formal curriculum improves resident well-being.

Objective: We assessed the feasibility and impact of a national pilot of a yearlong wellness curriculum for obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) residents.

Methods: The Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology Wellness Task Force developed a national multicenter pilot group of 25 OB-GYN programs to participate in a prospective cohort study. The curriculum included 6 interactive wellness workshops using uniform teaching materials delivered during didactic time. Prior to and following their participation in the curriculum, residents completed a survey containing demographic information and the Professional Fulfillment Index.

Results: Among 592 eligible participants, 429 (72%) responded to the pretest and 387 (65%) to the posttest. Average age of respondents was 29.1 years (range = 24-52 years) and included 350 (82%) women and 79 (18%) men. At baseline, 254 of 540 (47%) respondents met criteria for burnout, and 101 (23%) met criteria for robust professional fulfillment. Residents participated in an average of 3.9 workshops. While aggregate posttest scores did not differ from baseline, residents attending 4 to 6 workshops had improved rates of burnout (40% vs 50%, P = .017) and robust professional fulfillment (28% vs 20%, P < .001) compared with those with lower attendance.

Conclusions: A wellness curriculum was a feasible addition to OB-GYN residency program curricula in programs across the country. Residents with higher attendance experienced improved professional fulfillment and less burnout.