Residency Wellness & Support
It is our firm belief that personal wellness is paramount for a good residency experience. This not only means conducting wellness activities, but also helping build an infrastructure that provides support to residents.
As noted on the Simulation page, we now protect each class once every four weeks from 11pm on Tuesday through 7am on Thursday (when on EM-based rotations) for a "Class Day". In addition to bonding through working together in procedure workshops and simulation, this affords classes to spend time socially in the evenings following educational activities.
We also conduct evening journal clubs hosted by faculty, as well as other part-social/part-educational evening events (live and virtual).
Finally we emphasize the need for communication between the department and residents, as well as between residents themselves so that everyone has realistic expectations regarding shifts, off-service rotations, etc. We believe that a part of wellness is knowing what to expect and knowing that you are not alone. To promote these interactions and sharing we provide for a variety of opportunities.
Mentorship & Advising
We believe in differentiating Advising from Mentorship. Each resident is assigned an advisor when they begin residency - this is a member of the faculty who may or may not share interests with the resident, but is intended to be an academic and clinical resource for the resident. However, we recognize that these pairings made early in one's residency may not be perfect and resident interests evolve. Therefore, as a resident gets to know the entire faculty better and develops their own interests we promote the formation of mentor-mentee relationships that are based on personal compatibility and professional interests. Since we have faculty with a large variety of interests and sub-specialization are are almost always able to support residents' need for mentorship.
Over the years we have realized that promoting individual resident-faculty interactions can be challenging from a scheduling standpoint. Also, there may be topics that the faculty may not relate to as well as colleagues. This is why in 2019 we developed a system of "Residency Families" and "Siblings", and evolved this further into Residency "Houses" that are not only meant to be supportive, but are also "competitive". This system places incoming residents in a family that includes multiple members of the faculty and residents of varying levels. In addition incoming residents are assigned one or more "big siblings" in the residency.
The idea is to have a mixture of faculty with different niches. The House overall will participate in the yearly House competition to help foster relationships so that residents may be provided with lateral mentorship (and compete for a prize). Ideally this will allow residents to have a closer relationship with faculty of different niches who they may approach and identify as different mentors (i.e. to build a board of mentors). Our hope is that these systems allow for residents to not only gain advice, but also be able to share experiences, commisserate and know that they are not alone in what they are experiencing and feeling.
House Expectations include:
- Participate in communication as a group (group chat, email chain, Teams channel, etc.)
- Participate and help plan organized activities as a group (dinners, game nights, etc.)
- Participate in residency activities and events (conference, retreat, wilderness hike, welcome BBQ, etc.)
- Points make be taken from the House for professional issues (late arrival to conference, late completion of paperwork, etc.)
We host in-conference events such as quarterly Wellness sessions, monthly "shout-outs", quarterly Financial Wellness sessions, birthday celebrations, holiday celebrations (including donation drives for hats/gloves/etc. to benefit our local community) and resident-leadership meetings.
Outside the hospital we host a monthly evening Journal Club at an attending's house, a Book Club, and staff the NJ Marathon, in addition to other social activities that have a focus such as bringing together women-in-EM, dinners supporting DEI in the department, and not to mention cheering local (or distant) sports teams.
The residency hosts a yearly, off-site Residency Retreat - all residents are protected to attend from 7pm the night before to 7am the day after regardless of rotation.
All EM-4 residents are also given protected time to attend the annual ACEP Scientific Assembly and all EM-2 residents are protected to attend the annual SAEM Annual Conference. Residents are also usually given time and are funded to go to conferences they are presenting at or have publications accepted at.
Finally, we conduct regular conversations regarding mental health and well-being in conference including sharing resources such as those offered through the institution such as the Resident Wellness and Excellence Center.
While the current COVID-19 pandemic has altered how we interact and presents unforseen challenges, we have tried to engage with residents virtually and in-person regarding the impact of COVID, the social/economic/political upheaval around us as well as how to generally feel connected. We were lucky to be able to conduct our annual retreat in an appropriately distanced outdoor venue (Liberty State Park) this past year too.