A NOTE FROM THE PATHOLOGY RESIDENCY WELLNESS CHAMPION
It was July when my wife delivered our baby. Beyond that, I was still unpacking boxes, meeting an entire department of new colleagues, staggering under the volume of new material to learn and studying for STEP 3. To say I was stressed would be an understatement, but happily, those events sparked immense personal development. Challenges cut both ways; they strain us – and may strain our wellbeing, but we need them for growth.
Our residency program makes challenges of residency manageable by providing graduated responsibility, effective teaching and resources – like senior and faculty back up during call - and an appropriate workload. In addition to matching grants to promote ergonomic and uplifting workspaces and other resident wellness initiatives, the department and residency leadership are constantly improving the program and listening to resident feedback. Recently, residents asked for more mentoring and we now have a formal mentoring program matching faculty and more senior residents to incoming residents. A few years ago, we revamped our surgical pathology rotation to improve continuity and learning.
Even with the best resources and policies, challenges inevitably appear. Wellness is not an absence of adversity but a set of skills that help us bounce back and thrive. We cultivate these skills in a monthly wellness conference. As part of this monthly series, we’ve received lectures on nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, professional development, and held group discussions on similar topics. We often have fun debriefing sessions with our GME Wellness leadership, Rob Davies, PhD, and Katie Stiel, LCSW, that leave us feeling more connected and resilient. We’re also trying something new and exciting this year – We are going to read several books together on topics like resilience and how to receive feedback. I believe that by developing these skills during residency, we will handle professional difficulties better but more importantly we will be learning to live fuller, happier lives.
David C. Curtis, MD – GME Resident Wellness Champion