Leading by Example: Role Modeling Resilience Helps Our Learners and Ourselves

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The issues of burnout and its consequences are some of the most prevalent topics in conversations about the practice of medicine today. Many reports have focused on the contributors that fuel this epidemic, but the time has come to begin to focus on solutions. Prominent national efforts, including a National Academy of Medicine collaborative task force and the 2017 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education common program requirements’ focus on wellness, are presenting opportunities for academic medicine faculty to take the lead in turning this tide. While solutions to the burnout crisis are complex, the foundations of improving this epidemic lie in restoring a sense of purpose and balance in the lives of those who work in academic medicine. The inherent value of academic medicine to improve others’ lives through patient care, the advancement of knowledge, and the education of the next generation is a unique opportunity that many other professions do not share. On the best days, academic medicine faculty must remember to look for that joy and to express it to learners, and, on the worst, they must demonstrate to learners how to practice self-care and how to create personal resilience. By taking on the role of becoming resilient, faculty start to foster a culture of well-being rather than burnout and can begin to find solutions instead of continuing to describe the problem.

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