The program gives students necessary interventions that makes self-care easier to implement. “We aren’t taking away stressors; we are giving them the tools at hand,” said Dr. Haramati. “We aren’t babying students; we’re inoculating them with a vaccine that gives them tools, permission, and role models, so they can approach their careers and deal with life and death on a daily basis.”
What Is Unique to Medical Students and Residents?
What’s going on at the preclinical education level? For people used to being academic superstars in college, it can be challenging to get to medical school and realize that everyone around them is also a top-performing student. “The level of responsibility in our culture is jam-packed, and people find they are not necessarily at the top any more,” said Dr. Cotton. “It’s a pressure cooker, and often a very stressful learning environment.”
How Faculty Can Help
With generational shifts, faculty are more in tune with trainee wellness, where the topic wasn’t discussed 20 years ago, said Peter M. Vila, MD, MSPH, chief resident in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., the immediate past chair of the AAO-HNS section for residents and fellows (SRF). “There’s a cultural difference in that the Baby Boomers generally don’t talk about difficult things; they stoically get through them and hold it in, and it’s gotten away from that,” said Dr. Vila. “The next generation of faculty realizes it’s OK to get stressed out, but more importantly, it’s OK to talk about it.” He cited his resident advisor Craig Buchman, MD, as a model of resiliency. “He has shown that you can still be a fantastic leader and be a reasonable person and not exude stress on anyone else, and still function at a high level,” Vila said. “He’s an incredible role model to shoot for.” This is an example of what Dr. Haramati describes as faculty helping through modeling desired behavior.