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Humanism Rounds: Fighting Physician Burnout through Strengthened Human Connection

Participants: Brett Styskel, MD; Reina Styskel, MD
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The inspiration of this proposal came from the resident team’s annual retreat, where they shared what brings them joy and meaning in their work: “Caring for patients.” Through their project, they hope to increase the human connection between residents and their patients, and, in turn, increase the feeling of meaning in their work.

The “Humanism Rounds” project is a three-layer project designed to strengthen residents’ connections with their patients. The first layer changes the way a resident takes patient histories, to include getting to know the patient as a human being in concert with their medical history—what they call a “human history.” The second layer designates time within ward blocks to better connect with patients, which will allow residents to experience the most joy and meaning in their work, connecting with patients at the bedside during “humanism rounds.” The third layer is the sharing of inspiring human histories during conferences, grand rounds, and future retreats, in the form of videos from volunteer patients throughout the year.

Helping human beings when they are most vulnerable is what inspires hard work and dedication to our patients,” said team member Brett Styskel. “We want to enhance meaning in work by giving residents a chance to get to know their patients as human beings.”


Resident Trading Card Program

Participants: Joshua Belfer, MD; Kinjal Desai, MD
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The team members at Cohen Children’s Medical Center were inspired to create their project during the winter months of their first year of residency when they started to experience burnout.

We wanted to do something engaging and exciting that would help us become re-energized at work,” said project co-leader Joshua Belfer, MD, something that reminded us of the reason we went into medicine: our patients.”

The team has created the Resident Trading Card Program, which features cards, similar to baseball cards, with fun pictures of each resident, as well as fun facts, such as favorite ice cream flavor, where the resident is from, and hobbies. The inpatient teams can use these cards to introduce themselves to their patients, who are given the opportunity to create their own trading cards to teach their physicians about who they are and what they like.

The team hopes that by encouraging residents to learn more about their patients outside of their medical conditions, while in turn allowing patients to learn more about them, they’ll reignite their sense of meaning in work.


Redefining Meaning in Residency

Participants: AnneMarie Laurri, MD; Eric Moss, MD; Regina Makdissi, MD
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The Redefining Meaning in Residency project hopes to improve resident satisfaction and burnout through consolidation of education and encouragement of resident responsibility to practice medicine and educate patients. The project will provide afternoon meetings with patients and caregivers to communicate plans and barriers, and educate patients about their disease. The idea for the project grew out of the resident team’s ongoing efforts to improve resident satisfaction and feelings of value. During electronic health record (EHR) downtimes, the residents realized it was very satisfying to talk to patients, nurses, and their colleagues.

The idea is that establishing a meaningful relationship with the patient is critical for medical residents to develop as physicians,” explained Regina Makdissi, MD, associate director of the University of Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine internal medicine residency program.

By using close-the-loop rounds, the team hopes to educate patients about their health and improve their quality of life. The group also envisions the project expanding to include a series of patient education videos and other easy-to-digest resources to facilitate discussions between provider and patient. Ultimately, the team hopes to create an all-encompassing online resource to help educate patients.


The Face Time Fraction: A Patient-Focused Shift in Emphasizing Empathic Communication and Multidisciplinary Rounding

Participants: Kathryn Haroldson, MD; Heath Patel, MD; Tony Mazzella, MD
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The UNC Department of Medicine team has created a rounding intervention that reduces the amount of overhead found in traditional rounding styles. The project focuses on increasing meaningful face time with patients on rounds.

The previous rounding system offered limited patient engagement, as many important clinical discussions occurred away from the bedside. Knowing that this can increase dissatisfaction among patients, their caregivers, and providers, the team hypothesized that by rounding and discussing each problem in the patient’s room rather than outside a closed door, patients’ involvement in their own care could increase, while at the same time shortening the duration of rounds.

Preliminary data already shows increased time spent with each patient and overall shorter rounding time, dropping from 11 minutes and 45 seconds to nine minutes and 22 seconds. Meanwhile, bedside time increased from 40 to 70 percent.

Participants already believe communication is improving,” said project co-leader Anthony Mazzella, MD. “The main difference is that all of the discussion that traditionally occurred outside of a patient’s room behind a closed door is now being consistently moved to eye level with the patient.”

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