Improving resident well-being: a narrative review of wellness curricula

Postgrad Med J. 2022 Jul 19;postgradmedj-2022-141541. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2022-141541. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: To improve wellness among residents, many graduate medical education programs have implemented formal wellness curricula. Curricular development has recently shifted focus from drivers of burnout to promotion of wellness. The specific components of successful wellness curricula, however, are not yet well defined.

Objective: To review the published literature assessing core components of wellness curricula in graduate medical education programs.

Methods: Searches were conducted through June 2020 in PubMed, Education Resources Information Center, Google Scholar and Web of Science using the search terms wellness curricula, wellness programs, well-being and graduate medical education. Additional articles were identified from reference lists. Curricula from primarily undergraduate medical education, singular interventions, non-peer-reviewed studies and non-English language studies were excluded.

Results: Eighteen articles were selected and reviewed by three authors. Critical drivers of success included support from program leadership and opportunities for resident involvement in the curriculum implementation. Most curricula included interventions related to both physical and mental health. Curricula including challenging components of professionalisation, such as critical conversations, medical errors and boundary setting, seemed to foster increased resident buy-in. The most frequently used curricular assessment tools were the Maslach Burnout Inventory and resident satisfaction surveys.

Conclusions: Different specialties have different wellness needs. A resource or 'toolbox' that includes a variety of general as well as specialty-specific wellness components might allow institutions and programs to select interventions that best suit their individual needs. Assessment of wellness curricula is still in its infancy and is largely limited to single institution experiences.

Keywords: COVID-19; education and training; medical education & training; mental health.

Publication types

  • Review