“The most important patient we have to take care of is the one the mirror.” That quote from former AMA President Robert M. Wah, MD, fittingly starts one of five faculty development modules on managing burnout and promoting well-being, fostering professionalism and creating an effective learning environment.
“Faculty: Using Tools to Form an Action Plan for Wellness” is one of the new AMA GME Competency Education Program (GCEP) new offerings, which come in addition to dozens of courses that residents can access online, on their own schedule. The continuing professional development modules, which offer CME, are available to faculty at residency institutions that have subscribed to the AMA’s program.
Right now, there is a gap in GME faculty development. Many institutions want to develop or standardize faculty development programs but don’t have the resources to do so. Faculty have overwhelmingly expressed interest in topics such as professionalism, leadership, well-being and communication.
These modules fulfill Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirements for program directors and core faculty members to engage in professional development applicable to their responsibilities as educational leaders.
Through an institution’s subscription to GCEP, faculty can be given access by contacting [email protected]. Once they are added, they can be assigned these courses or take them at their leisure. Success in promoting faculty development often starts at a departmental leader level, such as a member of a faculty development coordinating committee encouraging participation.
Balance is no accident
The module on wellness referenced above offers instruction on evaluating your own wellness, identifying where you are struggling and what can be done about it.
The module covers how wellness reflects the complex and multifaceted nature of a physician’s physical, mental and emotional well-being and how it can be affected by their spiritual, social, financial and intellectual health.
“One key to a well-balanced life is to plan for it,” the module says, and then offers tips on doing so.
The other modules in this series for faculty are:
- “Faculty: Physician Health: Physicians Caring for Ourselves”
- “Faculty: Thriving Through Residency: The Resilient Resident”
- “Faculty: Creating an Effective and Respectful Learning Environment”
- “Faculty: Empowering Residents as Teachers”
The module focusing on self-care defines it as “care provided by you, for you.” Failure to manage stress has harmful effects such as obesity, hostility, impulsivity and—in the worst cases—suicide.
The module discusses different types of stress and recommends that, to fight against the daily challenges that drain you, find what restores you by actively engaging mind and heart together.
The module that focuses on “thriving in residency” notes that health is more than the absence of disease. It is the state of the physician’s complete physical, mental and social well-being. It also clarifies that “wellness” is an ongoing process fueled by self-awareness and healthy choices.
The opposite of well-being is burnout and the module instructs how to identify and fight it.
The “Residents as Teachers” module describes the residents’ role in creating a respectful and effective learning environment.
The most effective strategy to do this is to serve as a role model for professionalism and the module details how to do this including the most effective way to offer feedback. Delivering that feedback one-on-one and in private is better, says the module.
Feedback involves reinforcing good behavior, or improving poor behavior, which should be delivered as soon after an incident as possible and be specific, detailed and manageable.