I have been contacted by a few of you for details on what I’ve been doing at my institution to address program admin wellness / burnout. So, I thought I'd briefly share my experience.
My position is housed in the GME Office, and I work very closely with the program admins; one of which also had a very keen interest in wellness. We decide to join forces, and try to implement some kind of initiative on program admin wellness for our co-workers. Very soon after deciding this, an email went out that the hospital was offering "seed" money ($100-$500) to implement wellness programs at the hospital, what luck!! We quickly got together, completed the application and approached our DIO to match any seed money we were given. We wanted to kick off with a half day (morning) session on wellness, and we did talks & workshops on what it is wellness & burnout, how to recognize self-burnout, and how to combat it.
After that, we followed up with various monthly wellness based activities. We did many different types of actives over the following months, here were some of the things we did:
10,000 steps a day challenge,
classes on meditation, yoga and qi gong,
march madness basketball bracket,
lecture on sleep,
workshops on professional development,
We were very fortunate to be at a hospital that was already working very hard on employee wellness, and also affiliated with a university that was very involved in the field as well. So we did not have to look very far or hard to find resources to help us along the way. Other program admins offered up their faculty and residents to come give talks on different aspects of wellness, and we even got Human Resources involved to give us private workshops with the Organizational Development and Effectiveness team!
We also tried to hold as many social events as possible. One of the largest complaints from our group was how they felt like they worked in silos, and that they were isolated within their departments. Our goal was to make all the training program admins feel like they were a member of a social network that they could reach out to and be a part of. We already had monthly meetings for our admins, so we started to periodically go around the room and have everyone say their names, programs, and length of time at the hospital. Sometimes we played silly ice breakers like 2 truths and 1 lie. We also tried to engage our group by having more presentations from the program admins, though this turned out to be much more difficult than we thought, as we tended to have shier admins that were not comfortable talking in front of a large group (we have 45 coordinators at our hospital).
For this academic year (year 2 of our initiative) we are planning a full day retreat on education & wellness for all program leadership (admin, directors & faculty). Our GME Office doubled down on their funding, and the hospital again offered the seed money! So, we're again using as many in-house resources as possible, and have lots of program directors speaking this year. We will also continue to do monthly follow up activities with the program admins. Our first one planned for Oct will be a talk on Alternative Therapies, Intro to Acupuncture, Reiki & Aromatherapy; where we will have some of our nursing staff come in to demonstrate these therapies and answer questions.
It has been a challenge at times to organize and execute all these activities, but in the end it is worth the effort. I can see a change in our group, and so much more chatter at our monthly meetings! More of them reaching out to one another with questions or offering assistance. We have even had a few from our group reach out off line to tell us how much our efforts have positively impacted their day to day work life. It has been a truly meaningful project for me to work on, and I have learned so much in the process.
Do any of you have similar, more robust, or less robust, programs in your institutions? If not, I’d be very interested to hear if you would be interested in something like this? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
I am also very happy to share further details of our initiative if you are interested please email me at email@example.com
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