Symposium on Burnout and Resiliency in Medical Education
Participants from across Scotland and further afield gathered in the Gateway building at St Andrews to discuss recent work on building resilience in medical education. The importance of improving the well-being of medical students and professionals has been a growing priority in recent years. As part of that movement there is a growing interest in the idea of developing resilience, and how such a thing might be taught. The speakers presented a range of evidence relating to the experience of well-being and resilience in medical school and practice, and discussed a variety of practical options.
The work we have been doing is pertinent to that aspiration in a number of ways. The buffering models of self structure and social identity are important ways of thinking about how resilience might operate. Thinking more specifically about the nature of stress is also quite important.
Some identity-potent stressors may be part of a feedback loop that builds professional identity and ameliorates stress also.
The tension remains between the two sides of the experience: some people do survive and thrive in medical education and it is important to look at the processes that allow people to do that. At the same time, it is important to hear the stories of great distress that are experienced by medical students and there seems no doubt that the system causes unnecessary harm and distress. Resilience should not just be a mechanism to increase individuals tolerance to the intolerable.
Resilience should not just be a mechanism to increase individuals tolerance to the intolerable.
The symposium was supported by SMERC (Scottish Medical Education Research Consortium)as part of a larger research project on Resilience.