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Staying Human During Residency Training

Staying Human During Residency Training: How to Survive and Thrive after Medical School

Allan D. Peterkin
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Staying Human During Residency Training
    Book Description:

    Staying Human during Residency Traininghas helped to shape notions of trainee well-being for medical educators worldwide. Informative, compassionate, and professional, this new edition will again show why it is required reading for medical students and new physicians pursuing postgraduate training.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6255-1
    Subjects: Health Sciences, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Foreword to the Fifth Edition
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Aliye Runyan and Sonia Lazreg

    The field of medicine is a quickly evolving, constantly demanding one that has high potential for professional burnout, to the detriment of practitioners and their patients. Though more and more attention has been drawn to decreasing empathy and associated impairment, it is rare for focus to be drawn to wellness promotion in medical students and residents. The fifth edition ofStaying Human during Residency Trainingshines as a unique guide designed to prevent burnout.

    At the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), we pride ourselves on being a resource for the overall wellness of physicians-in-training. From hosting webinars on stress reduction...

  4. Introduction to the Fifth Edition
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Derek Puddester

    One of the smartest things a medical student, resident, fellow, or faculty member could do in their entire career is read and reflect on the wisdom in this very practical book. The Faculty Wellness Program at our school works with several hundred medical students and physicians every year and routinely recommendsStaying Human during Residency Trainingin our courses, workshops, lectures, and coaching sessions. Simply put, you will increase and enhance your resiliency and sustainability by investing some time with Dr Peterkin’s thoughtful and relevant book.

    Residency training is a delightful time in many ways. Residents enjoy a tremendous growth...

  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-2)
    Allan Peterkin
  6. CHAPTER ONE Body and Soul: The Risks, Challenges, and Opportunities of Resident Training
    (pp. 3-18)

    Residency training can be stressful, but it also provides many opportunities for great personal and professional development. Interns and residents are not fragile people; they are bright, compassionate, and dedicated men and women who are eager to learn. Although residency presents multiple challenges and stressors, it also affords the opportunity for young doctors to develop resilience and coping skills that will serve them throughout their careers. Along with medical students, residents make up approximately one-fifth of the physician workforce in the United States and Canada. It is striking, however, that some of the character traits that lead many people towards...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Preventive Medicine: Choosing a Humane Residency
    (pp. 19-32)

    In the past, graduating medical students, when choosing a residency program in North America, focused more on the program’s reputed standards or prestige than on the quality of life they could expect during that 4- to 6-year period of their lives. They sometimes based their choices on hearsay or on information acquired by chance. In interviews they concentrated on practical questions such as the size of a program or the opportunities it offered for research. Because selection was highly competitive, students seldom introduced other, more humanistic concerns for fear of appearing demanding or not sufficiently dedicated. Nowadays, medical students are...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Physician Heal Thyself: Taking Care of Your Body
    (pp. 33-48)

    Residents sometimes seem to forget, as they become used to ignoring physical cues including hunger and fatigue, that they themselves have bodies! This chapter offers some suggestions for keeping healthy physically during your years of training. Readers are also directed to a wonderful new resource at the AMA — ‘A Physician’s Guide to Personal Health Program’¹ (available, which guides you to make healthy lifestyle choices over time and reminds you to get regular check-ups/screening based on your age, health risk factors, and according to periodic medical exam guidelines.

    Historically, a lack of sleep has represented the most significant stress...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Staying Whole: Maximizing Supports and Finding Balance
    (pp. 49-68)

    Chapter 3 suggested ways of safeguarding physical health by improving your eating, sleeping, exercise habits, and stress-busting. This chapter discusses two important strategies for protecting your mental health: establishing adequate support systems and maximizing a sense of personal control and balance.

    Relationships with family, friends, and colleagues are discussed in chapter 5, since most residents tend to go to these individuals when experiencing difficulty during training. Other types of support that you might not have considered are available from the following people, groups, and organizations.

    Surprisingly, many physicians do not have their own physicians, preferring to treat themselves or somehow...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Protecting and Improving Personal and Professional Relationships
    (pp. 69-103)

    The people who thrive during residency are those who maintain friendships and family relationships and build new relationships as they go. As mentioned earlier, having a loving partner and supportive community are necessary ingredients of happiness for all human beings, but will also protect you from some of the effects of work stress. On the flipside, the busy schedule during residency may make it difficult for you to spend time with those you love. Here are some tips and strategies for doing so.

    The stresses of training that tax residents particularly affect their couple life. Residents’ lack of time, exhaustion,...

  11. CHAPTER SIX One Size Does Not Fit All: Unique Concerns
    (pp. 104-118)

    Gender issues, race, and religious beliefs can all have an impact on the learning experience of residents pursuing training in North America. Here are some key considerations.

    Back in 1989, when the first edition of this book came out, 44 percent of Canadian medical school graduates were women, compared with 6 percent in 1959 and 33 percent in 1981.¹ In 1990, 30 percent of all medical residents in the United States were women; by the year 2010 it was predicted that over half of all U.S. physicians will be women, although the 1989 AMA Women Physicians Health Survey put the...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Whiz Kids: Teaching, Learning, and Leading with No Time
    (pp. 119-136)

    Effective study seems virtually impossible when you are tired or overworked. Decreased sleep, anxiety, physical discomfort, and high noise and distraction levels have variable effects on the desire to learn, memory, reading capacity, concentration, and task performance. The housestaff member who has a weekend or evening off is unlikely to study because of a need for sleep or social contact; he or she may then feel guilty and inadequate. Try to study when you are relaxed, as you will learn and retain more. Medical information has never been easier or quicker to obtain, so you can access it wherever you...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Not Just a Job: Professionalism, Ethics Issues, and Legal Considerations
    (pp. 137-156)

    In 1996 the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada introduced an innovative framework called CanMeds for medical education, which established core competencies for all doctors. Seven key roles of the doctor were identified (¹

    Medical expert



    Health advocate




    The Royal College and the College of Family Physicians of Canada defined this last role as follows:

    Physicians are committed to the health and well-being of individuals and society through ethical practice, profession-led regulation, and high personal standards of behavior. Physicians have a unique societal role as professionals who are dedicated to the health...

  14. CHAPTER NINE Taking Care of Business: Managing Your Finances
    (pp. 157-170)

    The complete details of budgeting and investing and of planning and setting up a practice are beyond the scope of this chapter. In Canada, more information can be obtained from the Canadian Medical Association, provincial residency associations, and the MD Management Limited network. This network also offers superb tax, financial set-up, and financial counseling seminars, preferred loans, and other services to Canadian medical residents in training. In the United States, the American Medical Association offers some practice-related workshops.¹ Student loan repayment protocols, for example, change over time; they are published inThe Physician’s Guide to Financial Planning. Further financial information...

  15. CHAPTER TEN I’m Finally Done: Now What? Thoughts on the End of Residency
    (pp. 171-180)

    In Greek mythology, Procrustes was a robber who pretended to be an innkeeper on the road to Athens. Travelers seeking success in that city would stop at the inn, where Procrustes would tie them to a bed and adjust them to its length, cutting off the limbs of those who were too tall and stretching those who were too short. He was eventually killed by the hero Theseus.

    Residency is truly a modern ‘Procrustean voyage,’ where conformity, even to deforming principles, can be the price of success. Musical, creative, playful, spontaneous, even romantic aspects of our lives may be cut...

  16. CHAPTER ELEVEN Knowledge Is Power: Helpful Web Resources
    (pp. 181-194)
  17. Index
    (pp. 195-199)