Medical Resident Wellness

4 lessons for residents on sleep, resiliency and well-being

Brendan Murphy , Senior News Writer

Self-care during residency training can take a back seat. Even with their busy schedules, however, resident physicians who understand the key aspects of personal well-being can succeed more both during their duty hours and outside of them.

Physician burnout demands urgent action

The AMA is leading the national effort to solve the growing physician burnout crisis. We're working to eliminate the dysfunction in health care by removing the obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care.

The award-winning AMA GME Competency Education Program offers learners a chance to understand the roadmap to personal wellness that can lead to healthy habits during residency and fellowship training. The program provides a superior, engaging educational experience for residents and simple dashboards and reporting to help GME administrators easily manage residents’ progress.

Courses cover five of the six topics—patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and system-based practice—within the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s core competency requirements. The sixth requirement, medical knowledge, is one that is typically addressed during clinical education.

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Giving resident physicians the tools to live well, ID burnout

The four course topics below, ranging from sleep hygiene to resiliency, are among the AMA GME Competency Education Program offerings that are most relevant to residents as they strive to understand the demands of residency.

  1. Caring for yourself as a physician

    1. The excellent care that patients expect at teaching hospitals shouldn’t come with risk to the well-being of the resident physicians who do so much to provide it. The reality is that harmful stress while in training is common. Learn about techniques to cope when stress threatens to take over your life.

  2. Knowing the signs, solutions to sleep deprivation

    1. Sleep is essential to physicians’ alertness and performance, and a severe shortage of rest can affect the quality of patient care they provide. Yet many physicians, particularly during residency training, don’t get enough sleep. That reality has led to a push for a more robust curriculum surrounding the importance of sleep.


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      How resident physicians can assess and plan to boost well-being


  3. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of burnout

    1. Burnout during residency is a fairly common occurrence—a study says one-third of the residents felt overburdened by the workload often or most of the time, and 69% rated their work intensity as “high.” Understanding what leads to burnout can help residents assess their well-being.

  4. Assessing personal well-being

    1. Finding and maintaining well-being is an active process, and one that requires some work from both the health systems and residents and fellows. This course offers instruction on self-reflection and planning and directs residents to key tools to assess their well-being.