“I couldn’t get through residency without a session like this,” said a new pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
For three hours every three weeks, a group of pediatric residents meets with Dr. Rob Meyer and two of his colleagues to reflect on their experience of practicing medicine. It is a new requirement of the residency curriculum for pediatric residents to participate in personal and professional development.
“Medicine is undergoing such enormous change, not all of it positive,” says Rob. “There is such an emphasis on productivity. Some of the reasons people go into medicine, such as creating healing relationships, are being pushed into the background. For providers to be able to reflect on what gives them meaning is invaluable.”
“Reflective practice is not unique to this pediatric residency, but it is a perfect fit to bring the Courage concepts that I’ve learned over five years to this work.
“It’s important for these new physicians to have the time and space to reflect on what’s happening to them. We’ve carved out this protected time in which they don’t have other responsibilities and won’t get paged, where they simply get to talk and listen to each other.”
With each session, the residents have increasingly created a community of shared experience, says Rob. So far, they’ve talked about work/life balance, medical error, the sacred connection between doctors and patients, as well as getting and giving bad news.
The residents have also been able to talk about how they relate to patients and their families.
“I hear them say over and over how important it is to make a deep connection when listening to families. It’s important to connect on more than a superficial basis when you’re talking to someone whose child is in the hospital.
“Being able to provide these three hours of uninterrupted time is truly a gift, not only for them, but for us as faculty. It gives the residents a chance to reflect on the reasons they went into medicine in the first place. Incorporating reflective practice into their lives will help them be better physicians now and for the long run.”