“Nearly half of U.S. medical students experience symptoms of burnout such as feeling emotionally exhausted, detached from patients, and that their efforts do not make a difference” –Dyrbye & Shanafelt 2011
Systems solutions must be pursued to promote wellness and reduce burnout. Per Shanafelt & Noseworthy 2017, when groups/organizations operate under the assumption that wellness and burnout are the sole responsibility of the individual, efforts to improve wellness are looked upon with skepticism by physicians and organizational factors are neglected. Individuals may pursue strategies to mitigate burnout that work for the individual, but not for the group/organization. Systems strategies for wellness might include optimizing the learning environment, social support and community, culture that reinforces shared professional values but also flexibility/autonomy along with equity/fairness.
Sidney Kimmel Medical College underwent a transformation from a primarily lecture based format to an integrated, longitudinal format that includes both time limited blocks and longitudinal threads of content. The wellness thread is conceptualized as both wellness of the provider and the patient. In addition to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education’s mandates regarding the number of contact hours allowed, the structural presence of a wellness thread provides a reminder to curriculum developers to take into account student wellness.
Ankam, MD, Nethra, "JeffMD’s Wellness Thread: Lessons Learned" (2019). Thomas Jefferson University Faculty Days. Paper 55.