MARY MANCUSO, M.A., Clinical Associate
Ten faces looked at me, each with a unique expression: enthusiasm, reluctance, contemplation, fatigue, reservation. I was surrounded by a group of 4th year medical students about to learn where they will be matched for their 3 to 7 years of residency training. Some of these students will further specialize and add 2 more years to their education.
As our conversation evolved, it became clear that some of the medical students were anxious about the grueling environment of residency training, including competitive atmosphere, exhausting work schedule—sometimes working 30 hours in a row—and being subjected to harsh, and not always constructive, feedback from attending physicians. While all these conditions can lead to burnout for young physicians, in some tragic cases, the unrelenting pressure and stress leads to suicide.
How are individuals expected to endure almost a decade of such traumatic conditions? One medical student mentioned the term resiliency. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resiliency as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress.