Family Comes First: A Pilot Study of the Incorporation of Social Support Into Resident Well-being

J Educ Perioper Med. 2020 Oct 1;22(4):E652. doi: 10.46374/volxxii-issue4-martinelli. eCollection Oct-Dec 2020.


Background: Recent work has shown that understanding of work-related stress by family and friends is associated with increased resident well-being. However, it is often difficult for residents to communicate with their support persons (SPs), especially those who have minimal understanding of the medical field, regarding even the most basic functions of their role in the health care system. This study aimed to pilot test an innovative wellness event focusing on the social relatedness component of resident well-being.

Methods: The target population included 30 new residents at 2 anesthesiology residency programs and their SPs in 2017. The Family Anesthesia Experience (FAX) began with didactic presentations and a panel discussion about wellness topics. It concluded with a multifaceted simulation experience. Participants were surveyed before and after the event. Measures included SPs' understanding of residents' work and residents' stress, burnout, resilience, and social support levels. Student t tests, Mann-Whitney U tests, Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, and repeated measures analysis of variance were used to examine the impact of the event.

Results: Twenty-two (84.6%) of the 26 intervention clinical anesthesia year 1 residents who attended FAX completed the postevent surveys, and all intervention SPs (100%, n = 33) completed both pre-event and postevent surveys. The event was well received by the residents (100%) and their SPs (100%). Improvement in perceived understanding in the intervention SPs group (Pre: 1.44 ± 0.63, Post: 2.69 ± 0.33, P < .0001) was observed. Not all metrics of well-being for the residents achieved significance in change; however, decreased stress was observed compared with historical controls (Control: 1.91 ± 0.61, Intervention: 1.54 ± 0.42, P = .019).

Conclusion: The event led to improved SPs' understanding of the role of an anesthesiology resident.

Keywords: Resident wellness; burnout; graduate medical education; simulation; social relatedness.