Yale University: Resident Thriving Model Defined In New Study

Aconcept of Aristotle, eudaimonia is when a “flourishing life incorporates both a subjective feeling of satisfaction as well as a value-oriented purpose,” says authors of the recent paper, “Thriving in Residency: a Qualitative Study.”

Yale Medicine/Pediatrics Resident Joshua H. Hyman, MD, and Benjamin Doolittle, MD, MDiv, professor of medicine (general medicine), pediatrics, and divinity, sought to further understand the concept of eudaimonia, or thriving, in resident physicians.

The duo designed a qualitative study in which they interviewed 37 residents across three residency programs to determine what factors contributed to their thriving, both at work and in their personal lives. For the study population, Hyman and Doolittle sought residents with high life, career, and residency satisfaction who did not meet burnout criteria, a group they defined as thriving residents. Thirteen interviewees did not meet the thriving criteria.

They categorized answers by thematic content using a grounded theory-based approach. The following six themes emerged from these interviews: program leadership, learning climate, connectedness, joy in medicine, life balance, and intrinsic factors.

“Through this study, we gained insights into what gives resident physicians a sense of thriving in their work and personal lives,” said Hyman. “We conducted these interviews during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when residents were under immense personal and professional strain. Given that we were still able to find so many thriving residents, we feel that this strengthens our belief that the themes identified are strongly linked to a sense of thriving.”

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