Thriving in Scrubs: Understanding OBGYN Resident Resilience

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PURPOSE:To understand how resilience manifests during the critical developmental time of residency.BACKGROUND:Physician well-being has been connected with outcomes for the health of physicians and also their patients' safety and satisfaction. Better understanding of resilience could guide interventions aiming to relieve burnout.METHODS:A qualitative study was performed using grounded theory to analyze the lived experience of resilience in residents. Obstetrics and gynecology residents were selected as an intensity sample, presumed to have an intense but not extreme experience of resilience. Eighteen residents in all years of training participated in semi-structured interviews based on concepts identified by the literature. A three-phase process of open coding, analytic coding and thematic analysis generated a conceptual model for resilience among residentsRESULTS:Resilience among residents emerged as rooted in the resident's calling to the work of medicine, informed by aspirations to perform work valued by their community and cultivate connections with patients. Drive to overcome obstacles arose from strong affiliation with professional identity and values. Residency itself presented adversity, which caused residents to examine and cultivate coping mechanisms. Strong supports from peers and mentors in medicine as well as connections outside of medicine represented powerful buffers through conflicts presented throughout training.DISCUSSION:Resilience among residents is a dynamic and developmental phenomenon, informed by their background and personal goals, and influenced by the surrounding culture. Educational programs that foster deeper connections to the human dimension of the work, and allow residents to attend to their personal needs and development, may enhance resilience.

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