Medical schools battle burnout through wellness education

Medical schools battle burnout through wellness education


Although varied definitions of healthcare burnout exist, physical or mental exhaustion and an unempathetic bedside manner are its enduring traits, said Randon Welton, Margaret Clark Morgan Endowed Chair of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) in Rootstown.

“There’s also a reduced sense of accomplishment, where the physician feels they have nothing of value to offer,” said Welton. “Resiliency is the ability to continue that day-to-day work. It shows up as enthusiasm, a sense that you value the people you work for and with, and that you feel you’re a valuable part of the organization.”

NEOMED is one of two Ohio hospitals to receive a total of $4.2 million in federal funding to improve healthcare retention. The funds, distributed through the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act, are part of $103 million awarded nationwide to promote mental health in the workforce. Taking into special consideration the needs of rural and medically underserved communities, the program will assist healthcare organizations in efforts around wellness and resiliency.

Read more: Senators: American Rescue Plan’s $8.5B rural fund should go to rural providers only

Welton’s organization procured just over $2 million over the course of three years, money that will create partnerships and utilize local resources to help healthcare professionals respond to workplace stressors.

A program called “Healer’s Art,” for example, teaches students how to find meaning in their work, creating a humanistic approach centered on introspection rather than simply diagnosing and prescribing.

“The value of what you do can be through poetry, journaling and storytelling,” Welton said. “It’s about finding the barriers to joy in your work, and reflecting on what you can do about it.”

At University Hospitals, clinicians and other workers have a suite of wellness resources to choose from. Dedicated meditation spaces, music therapy and seated massages all do their part in de-stressing busy employees, said Francoise Adan, whole health and well-being officer at University Hospitals.

Adan also knows these perks are only a start when it comes to fostering caregiver resiliency.

“They’re not a check mark, but something we’ll do more of, and better,” said Adan. “The team and resources that UH has put behind these efforts are only growing.”


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