Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 1352–1355 | Cite as

Wellness and Work: Mixed Messages in Residency Training

  • Lisa M. Meeks
  • Jennifer Ramsey
  • Maureen Lyons
  • Abby L. Spencer
  • Wei Wei LeeEmail author


Resident physicians are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and burnout when compared with same-age peers, resulting in substantive personal and professional consequences. Training programs across the country have acknowledged the gravity of this situation and many have implemented programs and curricula that address wellness and resilience, yet the benefits of such initiatives are still largely unknown. While the development of wellness programming is well intentioned, it is often incongruent with the residency training environment. The mixed messaging that occurs when wellness programs are implemented in environments that do not support self-care may unintentionally cause resident distress. Indeed, outside of the time dedicated to wellness curricula, residents are often rewarded for self-sacrifice. In this commentary, we describe how the complexities of the medical system and culture contribute to mixed messaging and we explore the potential impact on residents. We offer recommendations to strengthen wellness programs through efforts to promote structural change in the training environment.


workforce burnout medical education-curriculum development self-care postgraduate medical education wellness resilience 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa M. Meeks
    • 1
  • Jennifer Ramsey
    • 2
  • Maureen Lyons
    • 3
  • Abby L. Spencer
    • 2
  • Wei Wei Lee
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Cleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA
  3. 3.SSM Health Saint Louis University HospitalSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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