psychological well-being; psychological wellness; qualitative research; exemplars; interviews as topic; wellness programs; graduate medical education; internship and residency


Medical Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences



The current research used a qualitative approach to understand which factors facilitate and hinder wellness programming in residency programs.


Program directors identified from a previous quantitative study as having residency programs with notably more or less resident wellness programming than others (ie, high- and low-exemplars, respectively) were contacted. In total, semi-structured interviews were conducted over Zoom with 7 low-exemplars and 9 high-exemplars.


The results of this qualitative examination suggest common themes across the 2 exemplar groups, such as wanting more resources for resident wellness with fewer barriers to implementation, viewing wellness as purpose-driven, and seeing wellness as a shared responsibility. There were also critical distinctions between the exemplar groups. Those high in wellness programming expressed more of an emphasis on connections among residents in the program and between the faculty and residents. In contrast, those low in wellness programming described more barriers, such as staffing problems (ie, turnover and lack of faculty wellness) and a lack of integration between the varying levels involved in graduate medical education (GME) operations (ie, between GME programs and sponsoring hospitals, and between GME facilities and the larger health care organization).


This study provides insight into program directors’ experiences with wellness programming at a large health care organization. The results could point to potential next steps for investigating how the medical education community can improve resident wellness programming.