Purpose: The burnout rate among US radiation oncology residents was 33% in 2016. To our knowledge there are no published interventions addressing burnout among radiation oncology residents. We describe the implementation of a well-being curriculum, cocreated by a psychologist, a medical humanities professional, and radiation oncology attending and resident physicians. Methods and Materials: Radiation oncology residents at our institution were surveyed to determine themes that induced burnout. A curriculum was developed, with monthly small group sessions focused on 1 identified topic. Sessions alternated between psychological tool-focused approaches and humanities exercises. These were led by a psychologist or medical humanities professional. Residents were given protected time to attend sessions during business hours. Participation was optional. Participants were assigned a random identifier, and the Stanford Professional Fulfillment Index (PFI) was assessed at baseline and 3-month intervals. PFI trends were analyzed after 1 year. At the end of the year, a focus group was held to evaluate work satisfaction and self-reported interactions with patients and coworkers. This information was used to improve the curriculum. Results: All 12 residents in the radiation oncology program participated in the curriculum. There was an equal number of residents of postgraduate years 2 through 5. Six of the participants were female. Of the participants, 11 completed the PFI. At baseline, 80% of residents met criteria for burnout. This decreased to 67%, 50%, and 33% at 3, 6, and 9 months, respectively. The proportion of residents meeting criteria for very good professional fulfillment was 30%, 56%, 38%, and 22% at baseline and 3, 6, and 9 months, respectively. On average, 9 of 12 residents attended each session. Conclusions: Our experience demonstrates the feasibility of collaborating with residents in the development of a well-being curriculum to cater programming to their needs, which we believe led to excellent engagement and attendance at each session.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging