What better place to seek resources to help fortify medical residents to deal with the pressures facing them during residency than the Canadian Armed Forces.
That’s where Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC) went to find the basis for the organization’s new initiative to develop a national curriculum on resiliency.
At a recent summit, RDoC provided a detailed overview of the Department of National Defence (DND)’s mental resiliency training model that has been adopted for residency training.
The Forces model takes a longitudinal approach from recruitment to retirement, to provide personnel with the skills and resources to manage stress and sustain mental fitness throughout their military career.
At the RDoC meeting – Healing our Healers: A Summit on Resiliency in Medical Education – residents, postgraduate medical deans and stakeholders including the Canadian Medical Association and practising physicians were invited to discuss the draft curriculum. Also present was Dr. Geneviève Moineau, president and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.
The residents association noted that the curriculum is “an evidence-based mental health curriculum adapted by residents for residents, that aims to help resident doctors mitigate shifts in resiliency and includes tailored interventions for leaders and learners.”
RDoC is advocating that the curriculum become a mandatory part of postgraduate medical education to help counter growing concerns about the mental health of residents.
In a release, RDoC quoted statistics showing an estimated 12% of Canadian medical students suffer major depression, and a significant number of residents report that residency impacts their physical and mental health as well as their relationship with friends.
In addition to hearing about the “Road to Mental Readiness” program provided to Forces personnel, summit delegates were given an overview of the Mental Health Commission of Canada program aimed at reducing stigma against those with mental illness.
Delegates to the RDoC summit learned that the association wants to develop a proactive approach to residents’ mental health, and that there is currently no such national program in place to address the issue.
“Maintaining the mental health of our students and residents is certainly a priority,” said Dr. Charmaine Roye, director of Professional Affairs and Strategic Health Alliances (PASHA) who attended the resiliency summit. “The CMA is pleased to have been involved with RDoC and DND since last fall when we participated in the planning meeting leading to this summit.”
“We have been hearing about issues involving residency mental health running the gamut from major depression to tragic deaths. Having a national program in place to give residents explicit training in becoming more resilient and maintaining their health makes a lot of sense.”