Department of Internal Medicine, Aurora Sinai Medical Center; Aurora UW Medical Group; Department of Family Medicine and Academic Affairs, Aurora Health Care

Presentation Notes

Poster presented at: Aurora Scientific Day; May 22, 2019; Milwaukee, WI.


Background: Physician burnout has led to increased cardiovascular disease, shorter life expectancy, problematic alcohol use, depression, and suicide. A recent meta-analysis on burnout and patient experience highlighted the strong association between physician wellness and the quality of patient care. Unfortunately, burnout in internal medicine ranks among the highest of all specialties, with rates up to 76%.

Purpose: To facilitate resident mental and physical well-being through initiatives focused on supportive colleague relationships and exercise.

Methods: We implemented two related interventions. 1) RAPS (Resident Advisor for Peer Success) is a structured peer advisor program for incoming interns to jump-start a “connection” with their continuity clinic team shortly after match day. This early and sustained contact provides interns with an immediate resource for questions/support and ongoing connections with senior residents and a faculty advisor. 2) Fit4Life intervention continued to build/ support colleague relationships through personal fitness. Wellness challenges between trainee years were held to promote physical health per American Heart Association (AHA) exercise guidelines. Three measures — a Fit4Life survey, semi-structured interviews with interns, and Mayo Well-Being Index (MWBI) — were used to evaluate process and outcomes.

Results: Fit4Life pre-, during, and postchallenge data showed that less than 20% of internal medicine residents met AHA guidelines: 150 minutes/week of aerobic physical activity. Challenge period results showed a modest but not significant increase in exercise. Average completion rate was 83% of internal medicine residents. Exercise, per AHA recommendations, was paired >50% of time with another activity (eg, watch/listen to television, movies, music, podcasts; connecting with family/friends). RAP intern interviews (13 of 13 [100%]) revealed that 85% were supportive of RAPS and 100% met weekly with RAPS team member(s) at continuity clinic. MWBI scores throughout intervention were well below instruments established at risk level for burnout (5.0), with below burnout scores ranging from 3.1 preintervention (February 2018) to 2.3 postintervention (December 2018).

Conclusion: The results of our well-being interventions focused on supportive colleague relationships through RAPS and exercise reveal high participation rates and support but no significant impact on physical or mental health as measured by Fit4Life and MWBI.

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