Objective: Physicians, including psychiatrists and psychiatry trainees, are at higher risk of burnout compared to the average working population. The COVID-19 pandemic heightens this risk. The purpose of this pilot was to enhance professional fulfillment and sense of professional support while decreasing risk of burnout in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) trainees’ through virtual delivery of a novel Balint-based well-being curriculum.
Methods: The pilot included six CAP trainees. The 8 fortnightly 60 minute sessions were co-facilitated by a psychologist and psychiatrist. Sessions combined emotional awareness skills with a Balint-based approach to case review. The authors assessed trainee well-being, professional fulfillment, and sense of professional support pre- and post-intervention with the Well-being Index (WBI), Stanford Professional Fulfillment Index (PFI), and the authors’ own supplemental survey questions assessing sense of professional support.
Results: Trainees found the curriculum feasible and useful. Pre- and post-intervention surveys showed a 23.3% reduction in burnout (p=0.027) as well as significant improvements in happiness at work, enthusiasm toward work, sensitivity to others, and connectedness with colleagues. The authors found positive trends in additional aspects of professional fulfillment and sense of professional support.
Discussion: A novel well-being curriculum focused on combining emotional awareness skills with a Balint-like approach enhances professional fulfillment and a sense of professional support and decreases the risk of burnout, even when delivered virtually. Virtual delivery is especially important as such platforms play prominent roles during COVID-19. This pilot demonstrates feasibility and utility, and supports the planned expansion of this low-cost, high-value intervention for trainee well-being.