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Resident wellness top of mind at St. Michael’s

Toronto, April 7, 2015

By Iram Partap

Amanda Sawyer juggles her files and email between appointments
Amanda Sawyer, a fourth-year psychiatry resident at St. Michael’s, juggles her files and email between appointments. (Photo by Katie Cooper)

Finding a work-life balance can be challenging. Juggling the demands of family, personal activities and work can be overwhelming. Add in long hours at the hospital required by residents and that balance becomes even trickier.

Drs. Julie Maggi, Molly Zirkle and Najma Ahmed are developing a new resident wellness initiative to prevent or minimize fatigue and promote wellness.

“Wellness is an important part of our training and it’s nice to know it is a priority at the hospital,” said Dr. Amanda Sawyer a fourth-year psychiatry resident at St. Michael’s. “If we’re not well or feel we have a balance in our life, we can’t treat our patients to the best of our ability.”

In her role as director of Postgraduate Medical Education at St. Michael’s, Dr. Maggi acts as a champion for residents, both as a mentor and as their voice at decision-making tables.

“Through this initiative we want to focus on the institutional factors such as opportunities for sleep, adequate and accessible nutrition, physical spaces, and supports, that may impact fatigue among our residents,” said Dr. Maggi, who is also a psychiatrist. “We know that life balance shifts depending upon the stage of training and the stage of life. We hope that by learning more about what factors lead to fatigue and adjusting them we’ll be able to better support our residents during their time at St. Michael’s.”

Over the next year, Dr. Zirkle, director of the FitzGerald Academy; Dr. Ahmed, director of the University of Toronto’s General Surgery Program for residents; and Dr. Maggi will consult with residents on what would make a difference in their lives. To assist with the development of the initiative Dr. Maggi, Dr. Zirkle and Dr. Ahmed have applied for a grant through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.