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What Do We Really Mean by “wellness?” an Analysis of Resident Use of Time During Allocated Wellness Days

Purpose: To identify resident priorities during allotted “wellness” days and evaluate the perceived importance of scheduled wellness time in residency.


Background: There has been a national push to promote resident wellness as burnout rates continue to remain high. Various efforts have been trialed, ranging from a 12-week didactic curriculum (Aggarwal) to training designed to identify signs and symptoms of burnout (Tran) to group workout sessions (Spiotta), often demonstrating short term improvements in wellness-related measures. For the past 2 years, in an effort to promote wellness, our schedule has included two wellness days per year intended to allow residents to catch up on health maintenance, practice self-care, etc.


Methods: We administered a de-identified survey to our residency program inquiring about the use of allocated wellness time. This study was voluntary and deemed IRB-exempt.


Results: We received 16 responses to our survey, representing each member of our residency program of the 2019-2020 academic year. A wide array of activities was performed, including doctor or dentist appointments, haircuts, vehicle maintenance, massages, pedicures, cooking, exercise, miscellaneous errands, and resting.  Importance of wellness days, ranked on a scale of 1-5, averaged 4.5.


Discussions: Residents were most likely to use their allocated time to see a doctor, exercise, engage in self-care activities, and relax and least likely to engage in work-related activities or research. Wellness days were perceived as highly important and most respondents felt as though these days supported physical (81%) and emotional (68%) aspects of wellness as well as work-life balance (75%).

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Resident, Faculty, Residency Director, Residency Coordinator, Systems-Based Practice & Improvement, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, GME,

General Information

Resident,Faculty,Residency Director,Residency Coordinator,
Systems-Based Practice & Improvement,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Ashley Moon, MD, University of Virginia Health System; Margot Gurganus, MD, MPH

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