Psychological, emotional, and physical well-being are critical in the development of the competent, caring, and resilient physician. Self-care is an important component of professionalism; it is also a skill that must be learned and nurtured in the context of other aspects of residency and fellowship training.
The Radiation Oncology Residency Program, in partnership with the UCSF School of Medicine and Office of GME, has the same responsibility to address well-being as it does to evaluate other aspects of resident and fellow competence. This responsibility must include:
- Efforts to enhance the meaning that each resident and fellow finds in the experience of being a physician, including protecting time with patients, minimizing non-physician obligations, providing administrative support, promoting progressive autonomy and flexibility, and enhancing professional relationships;
- Attention to scheduling, work intensity, and work compression that impacts resident and fellow well-being:
- Evaluating workplace safety data and addressing the safety of residents, fellows, and faculty;
- Policies and programs that encourage optimal resident and faculty member well-being; and
- Attention to resident and faculty member burnout, depression, and substance abuse. The program, in partnership with the UCSF School of Medicine and Office of GME, must educate faculty, residents, and fellows in identification of the symptoms of burnout, depression, and substance abuse, including means to assist those who experience these conditions. Residents, fellows, and faculty must also be educated to recognize those symptoms in themselves and how to seek appropriate care.
Residents and fellows must be given the opportunity to attend medical, mental health, and dental care appointments, including those scheduled during their working hours.
The Radiation Oncology Residency Program, in partnership with the UCSF School of Medicine and Office of GME, must:
- Encourage residents, fellows, and faculty to alert the program director and other designated personnel or programs when they are concerned that another resident, fellow, or faculty member may be displaying signs of burnout, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, or potential for violence;
- Provide access to appropriate tools for self-screening; and
- Provide access to confidential affordable mental health assessment, counseling, and treatment, including access to urgent and emergent care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There are circumstances in which residents and fellows may be unable to attend work, including but not limited to fatigue, illness, and family emergencies. Each program must have policies and procedures in place that ensure coverage of patient care in the event that a resident or fellow may be unable to perform his/her patient care responsibilities. These policies must be implemented without fear of negative consequences for the resident or fellow who is unable to provide the clinical work.