A Curriculum to Promote a Culture of Wellness Among Medical Students and Faculty

PRiMER. 2020 Jul 10;4:13. doi: 10.22454/PRiMER.2020.930805. eCollection 2020.

Abstract

Introduction: Self-care has not been traditionally taught in medical education, but the epidemic of burnout among health professionals necessitates a change in culture, and consequently a change in curriculum. Burnout begins early in training and negatively impacts health professionals, patients, and institutions. Interventions that prevent and avert burnout are necessary at all stages of a doctor's career to assure well-being over a lifetime. Evidence-based strategies supporting both personal and system wellness have begun to emerge, but more research is needed.

Methods: We present a collaborative and comprehensive wellness program: "A Culture of Wellness." We offered this pilot jointly for first-year medical students and faculty volunteers at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. We gave participants the following: (1) time-60 minutes per week for 8 weeks; (2) tools-weekly cases highlighting evidence-based wellness strategies; and (3) permission-opportunities to discuss and apply the strategies personally and within their community.

Results: Pre- and postsurvey results show that dedicated time combined with student-faculty collaboration and application of strategies was associated with significantly lower levels of burnout and perceived stress and higher levels of mindfulness and quality of life in participants. Components of the curriculum were reported by all to add value to personal well-being.

Conclusions: This pilot presents a feasible and promising model that can be reproduced at other medical schools and disseminated to enhance personal health and promote a culture of well-being among medical students and faculty.