To provide guidance to residents and programs in supporting and promoting well-being needs of residents, in compliance with available wellness resources.
This policy is being written in accordance with the CanRAC accreditation requirements.
This policy reflects the University of Saskatchewan Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Resident Resource Office’s (RRO) commitment to the enhancement and maintenance of the overall health and well-being of medical residents. This policy provides an outline of various support services available to residents to foster a culture of self-care and to develop a collegial, respectful, and supportive learning environment.
The PGME RRO is committed to informing and supporting the needs of Residents by making efforts to create a barrier-free learning environment and by providing other support and services within the limits of available resources.
Discrimination, harassment, and mistreatment are prohibited and will not be tolerated in PGME learning environments. PGME provides resources and support to develop healthy and resilient physicians.
Program is the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the College of Family Physicians Canada (CFPC) accredited residency training program at the College of Medicine.
Program Director is the faculty member most responsible for the overall conduct of the residency program in each discipline and responsible to the Head of the Department and to the Associate Dean, PGME in accordance with the criteria of the RCPSC/CFPC. Responsibilities of the Program Director can also apply to the responsibilities of the Site Director in CFPC programs, where appropriately delegated to the Site Director by the Program Director.
Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Office refers to the Associate Dean, PGME and the administrative personnel who are responsible for coordination and administration related to the oversight of the residency training programs.
Resident refers to postgraduate medical trainee enrolled in the RCPSC or the CFPC program.
The Resident Resource Office refers to the Resident Wellness Coordinator and administrative personnel within PGME who provide non-academic support in a safe and confidential environment to residents who may be coping with professional or personal challenges throughout residency training.
Scope of this Policy
This policy applies to all residents in all residency training programs at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan as well as all residency training programs and faculty that provide academic and clinical direction to medical residents.This policy refers to the PGME Health & Safety Policy, University of Saskatchewan policies on health, safety and environment and has been adapted with permission from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine Wellness policy.
1. The Role of the Resident Resource Office:
- RRO is responsible for providing non-academic, non-evaluative support to medical residents throughout their postgraduate medical training. The RRO supports residents who may be coping with professional or personal challenges. The Resident Wellness Coordinator helps individuals develop proactive strategies around health and well-being issues specific for physicians, all in a safe and confidential space.
- The RRO will provide support services that ensure a healthy and positive learning environment for residents by integrating a multi-level framework for prevention and focused interventions. Using a holistic approach, focusing on the eight wellness domains (physical, emotional, intellectual, financial, spiritual, occupational, social, and environmental) to form the basis of the design and development of RRO wellness programs and initiatives.
2. The Resident Wellness Program provides the following services:
- Information and support Provide information about policy and procedures and offers confidential support during career and personal difficulties.
- Accommodation services Provides information and support regarding accommodations during training for residents with disabilities.
- Assessment and referral Aid residents in difficulty and facilitate referrals to on and off campus resources.
- Crisis management and intervention services Provides mediation and conflict resolution for a safe and respectful clinical learning environment.
- Workshops and educational programs Provide education and training opportunities to develop proactive strategies around health and well-being issues.
- Wellness program and resources Provides online resources and delivers wellness programs designed to enhance resilience and well-being.
3. Resident Responsibilities for Wellness:
- To be aware of and have access to the various health, safety and wellness policies and services of the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Health Authority, and affiliated training site(s).
- To be responsible for presenting themselves fit for work and be able to perform their clinical and educational duties in a safe and effective manner. Residents should aim to be free from the adverse effects of physical, mental, emotional and/or personal difficulties during training. Residents are responsible for the appropriate management of their time before, during and after clinical/teaching assignments to prevent fatigue.
- Residents are responsible for using their discretion and judgement in recognizing signs of impairment, including that which is due to illness and/or fatigue. If a resident is experiencing any difficulties that they feel could impact their ability to perform their duties, they are encouraged to seek assistance as soon as possible. Residents can refer to the Resident Doctors of Canada Resiliency scale to assess their fatigue. Residents can seek help through the Resident Resource Office, Program Director, Program Coordinator, PGME office, RDoS office, SMA Physician Health Programs, EFAP, or faculty member as appropriate.
- Residents are encouraged to obtain the services of a family physician. The University of Saskatchewan provides students access to physical and mental health services at the University of Saskatchewan Student Wellness Centre.
4. Residency Program Responsibilities:
- Residency training programs are responsible for being aware of the various aspects that may influence the health and safety of residents. Programs should have internal processes in place to ensure a positive work environment for residents and to encourage a diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture within the program.
- Program Directors or faculty members are encouraged to recognize the signs of resident fatigue, burnout, and/or physical, mental, or emotional strains affecting the performance of a resident. They must take steps to ensure the safety of residents and patients. and to provide resources and/or referrals to residents when needed. Refer to the PGME Resident Health & Safety Policy.
- Residency programs should be aware of the services & educational opportunities offered by the Resident Resource Office and should encourage residents to access those programs and supports available to them.
- It is the responsibility of the Program to support and provide reasonable accommodations that may be recommended by the Access and Equity Services office or the learners’ treating physician to respond to individual requirements for accommodation and provide the most appropriate accommodation unless this causes undue hardship to the employer or service provider. See PGME Accommodations of Residents with Disabilities Policy.
5. PGME Office Responsibilities:
- The Resident Resource Office offers confidential support at “arm’s length” from the PGME office. Residents’ personal health information is kept confidential and is not disclosed without resident consent, or unless it is determined that the disability presents a credible threat to the safety of the resident or others. Individual resident files are stored on a secure confidential server, managed by the University that can be accessed only by authorized Resident Resource Office staff who are bound by confidentiality agreements as per terms of their employment.
- The PGME Office highlights that learning environments should be safe and supportive spaces for all residents. Collaboration and communication between residents, faculty and staff should be in an open, collegial, and professional atmosphere. Learning and working environments must be free from intimidation, harassment, and discrimination. PGME supports residents, faculty and staff in the principles and procedures outlined in the PGME Discrimination and Harassment policy.
6. Fatigue Risk Management
The PGME policy on Fatigue Risk Management is in accordance with recommendations put forward in the Fatigue Risk Management Toolkit, a National resource for Canadian postgraduate medical education.
Residency training can elicit a variety of challenges to personal and professional well-being, including emotional and physical exhaustion, heightened anxiety, feelings of inefficacy, and social disconnection. Local and National resources are available:
- PGME Resident Resource Office (RRO)
- University of Saskatchewan Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
- Saskatchewan Medical Association – Physician Health Program (PHP)
- Resident Doctors of Saskatchewan (RDoS)
- Access and Equity Services (AES)
- Health Authority (SHA)
- University of Saskatchewan Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Service (DHPS)
- 211 Saskatchewan is an initiative of the United Way Saskatoon and the United Way Regina. They offer centralized contact information for emergency crisis hotlines, shelters, childcare services, care homes, food services, financial help, older adult services, newcomer services, aboriginal services, mental health services, and disability services. They have a province wide directory of Saskatchewan 24/7 Hour Crisis Hotlines.
8. Related Documents:
The following related documents are provided throughout this policy:
- PGME Wellness Programs
- PGME Health & Safety Policy
- University of Saskatchewan policies on health, safety and environment
- PGME Accommodations of Residents with Disabilities Policy
- PGME Discrimination and Harassment policy
- Fatigue Risk Management Toolkit
Instances or concerns of non-compliance with this policy should be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean, PGME.
Coordinator for Academic and Non-academic Processes, PGME Office