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Emotional Intelligence and Self-Care/Wellness during medical residency training

Burnout, a disease of emotions, is defined as feelings of lack of personal development, becoming cynical, loss of empathy, and gradual erosion of enthusiasm for work. Burned out physicians are more physically, mentally, emotionally and socially exhausted. Burnout leads to decreased skill in the art and science of medicine and increased ACGME competency failures. Burnout leads to increased medical errors and poorer physician patient interactions. Students, residents and faculty are almost equally burned out. Medical school and residency training are both the times when medical knowledge, practice approaches, and technical proficiency are taught and learned. It is also the time when self-care habits and work-life balance need to be taught and learned. The literature has shown that medical schools and residency training lack two key ingredients in training that help prevent burnout and mitigate its effects: Emotional Intelligence and self-care. Having high levels of emotional intelligence(EI) has been shown to enhance mastery of the six ACGME competencies and decrease resident and faculty burnout. EI has been positively correlated with mental and physical health as well as general well-being. There is a glaring deficiency in the teaching and utilization of emotional intelligence in residency training. Literature has also shown that wellness and self-care suffer the most during residency. The ACGME is exerting tremendous effort to enhance wellness during residency training. Programs that promote resident wellbeing, enhance resiliency, resident autonomy, sleep, coping mechanisms, enhanced social relatedness and building competence are needed to combat burnout. Residency programs need to identify and address suboptimal aspects of the learning environment and train residents in resiliency skills. Once available, wellness programs have been used with great success by residents and faculty alike. The time is upon us to tackle these two problems and attempt to incorporate their solutions into residency programs.]]>

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