Let’s Talk About it: The Utility of Formalized Support for Medical Residents

Document Type : Short Communication


1 Department of Health Services Research, Care and Public Health Research Institute (CAPHRI), Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

2 School of Health Professions Education, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

3 Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands


Medical residents are significantly impacted by burnout and depression. Recent events have only further increased the pressure and demands on the healthcare sector, intensifying the burden facing residents and posing a threat to residents’ well-being. As a result, significant efforts are being made to provide formalized support and well-being programs. Yet, emergent evidence indicates that residents do not sufficiently utilize this form of support. Considering the organizational investment and focus on formalized support programs, we conducted a mixed-method study to investigate residents’ utilization of formalized well-being support, and potential reasons for non-use. Our study was conducted during a period of increased work burden and stress for medical residents, where formalized support was specifically offered and targeted to medical staff. Our findings confirm earlier results of low support utilization and point to the importance of informal support mechanisms, in particular peer support. We conclude by discussing the role of managers and educational programs in facilitating a positive cultural shift to promote and support residents in seeking support. 


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