Are We Making an Impact? A Qualitative Program Assessment of the Resident Leadership, Well-being, and Resiliency Program for General Surgery Residents

Elinora T. Price, Catherine R. Coverley, Amanda K. Arrington, Valentine N. Nfonsam, Lilah Morris-Wiseman, Taylor S. Riall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: After implementing a formal resident well-being and resiliency program in our surgery residency, we performed in-depth qualitative interviews to understand residents’ perceptions of: (1) the impact and benefits, (2) the essential elements for success, and (3) the desired changes to the well-being program. Design: The well-being program is structured to address mental, physical, and social aspects of resident well-being through monthly experiential sessions. All General Surgery residents participated in the program; content is delivered during residents’ protected educational time. For this study, we conducted individual semistructured interviews: residents were asked for their feedback to understand the value, benefits, and drawbacks of program. Setting: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited General Surgery residency program Participants: We used purposeful selection to maximize diversity in recruiting residents who had participated in program for at least 1 year. Recruitment continued until themes were saturated. Eleven residents were interviewed including 2 from each residency year. Results: Residents reported benefits in 3 thematic spheres: (1) Culture/Community, (2) Communication/Emotional Intelligence, and (3) Work-Life Integration Skills. Key structural elements of success for a well-being program included a committed leader, a receptive department culture, occurrence during protected time, and interactive sessions that taught applicable life skills. In discussing opportunities for improvement, residents desired more faculty-level involvement. Some residents were skeptical of the benefit of time spent learning nontechnical skills; some wanted more emphasis placed on accountability to patients and work. Conclusions: Our qualitative assessment of a novel resident well-being program demonstrates reported benefits that reflect the intent of the program. Residents most benefited from sessions that were interactive, introduced readily applicable skills for their day-to-day lives, and included reinforcement of principles through experiential learning. Engagement of the department leadership is essential to the success of the program, as is ongoing feedback and modification to ensure that program is tailored to the needs of residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-519
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • burnout
  • communication
  • culture
  • interpersonal skills
  • work-life integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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