Trainee Wellness and Safety in the Context of COVID-19: The Experience of One Institution.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant ramifications for provider well-being. During these unprecedented and challenging times, one institution's Department of Surgery put in place several important initiatives for promoting the well-being of trainees as they were redeployed to provide care to COVID-19 patients. In this article, the authors describe these initiatives, which fall into 3 broad categories: redeploying faculty and trainees, ensuring provider safety, and promoting trainee wellness. The redeployment initiatives are the following: reframing the team mindset, creating a culture of grace and forgiveness, establishing a multidisciplinary wellness committee, promoting centralized leadership, providing clear communication, coordinating between departments and programs, implementing phased restructuring of the department's services, establishing scheduling flexibility and redundancy, adhering to training regulations, designating a trainee ombudsperson, assessing physical health risks for high-risk individuals, and planning for structured deimplementation. Initiatives specific to promoting provider safety are appointing a trainee safety advocate, guaranteeing personal protective equipment and relevant information about these materials, providing guidance regarding safe practices at home, and offering alternative housing options when necessary. Finally, the initiatives put in place to directly promote trainee wellness are establishing an environment of psychological safety, providing mental health resources, maintaining the educational missions, solidifying a sense of community by showing appreciation, being attentive to childcare, and using social media to promote community morale. The initiatives to carry out the department's strategy presented in this article, which were well received by both faculty and trainee members of the authors' community, may be employed in other departments and even outside the context of COVID-19. The authors hope that colleagues at other institutions and departments, independent of specialty, will find the initiatives described here helpful during, and perhaps after, the pandemic as they develop their own institution-specific strategies to promote trainee wellness.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kemp, MT; Rivard, SJ; Anderson, S; Audu, CO; Barrett, M; Fry, BT; Lane, M; Vu, JV; Young, BAC; Englesbe, M; Sandhu, G; Coleman, DM

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 96 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 655 - 660

PubMed ID

  • 33208674

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1938-808X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003853


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States