Solving Resident Burnout

Alicia Huckaby, DO, FACOG, FACOOG

Fam Med. 2022;54(6):482-483.

DOI: 10.22454/FamMed.2022.839274

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Book Title: Solving Resident Burnout

Author: Daniel S. Orlovich

Publication Information: Sydney, Australia, Horowitz Publishing, 2020, 208 pp., $15.99, paperback

Daniel S. Orlovich, MD, PharmD, changed professions from pharmacist to anesthesiology resident in 2016, from 2020-2021 he completed a pain management fellowship, and he is now in private practice specializing in pain management. During residency he developed the Solving Resident Burnout project and published this book in 2020. His insider knowledge of all levels of graduate medical education makes him an experienced advocate for residents in the trenches.

The book explores the factors contributing to burnout and the problems it creates, and provides easy, actionable ways to address them in a relatable, easy-to-read format. The author provides concrete solutions that residents are able to implement in their daily routine without needing any additional resources to do so. The book is split into short chapters that address fundamental issues: what is burnout, what causes burnout, what are solutions for burnout, and how to make program-level changes. It is a relatively short book and a quick read that allows residents to have time to fit reading it into their busy schedules.

The author uses a mix of stories, dialogue, and questions to keep readers interested. The beginning of the book starts with “Sixteen Questions & Objections You May Have.” This introduction breaks down most preconceived notions of wellness and better prepares the reader to take in the rest of the book and the recommendations within it. Chapter titles such as “Thinking Outside the Box: Sounds Like These Wouldn’t Work,” entice the reader to explore further.

The stories throughout the book will make any medical professional laugh and think of a time they were in a similar situation. He also openly discusses that there are institutional and government-level problems with the current state of residency training, and that while we must actively work toward improving resident education as a whole, that does not help the individual resident. The book encourages residents to take personal responsibility for their own well-being and gives ideas to address it.

Residents in our program who have used the book found it to have helpful and concrete ideas for addressing wellness and burnout. The way that system-level problems are acknowledged allowed for the residents to be more open to hearing what the author had to say. They found the solutions he provided to be practical and actionable. Even simple things like keeping snacks on them and drinking enough water were small steps they could take to regain control and improve their quality of life. At times the residents found the suggestions and format to be elementary, but as they continued to read they appreciated the messages within.

The book has provided solutions and actions for residents to improve their quality of life. It has also started great discussions between faculty and residents. We have all been able to share lived experiences and use the book as a reference for ways we can make improvements. The overall attitude, especially between program director and residents, has significantly improved. Sharing vulnerabilities and using the book as a starting point for difficult conversations allowed for a more open line of communication and has led to significant improvements in the program already.

This book gives the reader the toos and perspectives needed to make life changes to help improve their outlook and wellness. As a medical educator, This book allows medical educators to not only see learners’ points of view but also improve their outlook in order to be a better teacher. I would highly recommend it not only for family medicine practitioners, but also for all medical resident specialties.

Lead Author

Alicia Huckaby, DO, FACOG, FACOOG

Affiliations: Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo, OH

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