Resiliency Programs Not Very Resilient

I am no statistician but I still think this article called Resiliency Program Reduces Burnout Symptoms in FM Residents looks a little fishy. Doesn’t the title seem to look positive to you? Here is the basics to the study:

  • Thirty-two family medicine residents at two residency programs in Toledo, Ohio, were recruited to participate; 19 were assigned to an intervention group and 13 to a control group. Most were international medical graduates.
  • Residents in the intervention group engaged in interactive sessions that covered topics such as time management, mindfulness and coping skills. Each session included a handout and a didactic presentation by a health care professional, followed by practicing a skill such as breathing awareness, meditation or guided imagery. Residents participated in eight hours of training during their first year, and between four and six hours of advanced training in their second and third years.
  • Residents in the control group watched videos from a program called the LIFE curriculum,(sites.duke.edu) which consisted of learning modules designed to evaluate fatigue, stress, depression, substance abuse and disruptive behavior.
  • Of the residents originally recruited, 18 from the intervention group and 10 from the control group completed the study.

So, most were IMGs, which could have cultural differences. That could be a very confounding variable. Also, four of the 32 residents dropped out. That may be a problem too. Okay, then there is this:

  • Compared with controls, residents in the intervention group showed a trend toward lower burnout and secondary traumatic stress scores, although this finding was not statistically significant.

What? NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT? I feel like Walter Sobchak when he says, “Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?” So how in the hell does the article say this:

Results of a small trial(journals.sagepub.com) published online July 5 in The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine indicate that a program focused on cultivating personal awareness, building social connections and coping skills, and maintaining work-life balance can provide both short- and long-term benefits for family medicine residents.

They go on to say:

  • The resiliency program appeared to be effective in keeping burnout rates from rising over the longer term (WTF?)
  • “The take-home message is that resiliency or well-being programs should be included in curriculum throughout the three years, and well-being should be treated as a competency similar to the other competencies, including medical knowledge,” Brennan said.

Here we go again. I expect this to be put into all residency programs soon without any real evidence proving its worth. Just another thing to add to the agenda to make the programs look good.

Hey, I am for fixing this crap but maybe they are concentrating on the wrong thing. How about removing the source of the problem? How about giving these FP residents hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel by promoting DPC? Nope.

This crap never ceases to amaze me.

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