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With her colleagues in the Research Department for Medical Education (RDME) at UCL Medical School, Dr Antonia Rich recently interviewed 96 trainees who told them the many challenges to work-life balance they face. The study, “You can’t be a person, and a doctor” (Rich et al., 2016), was published in BMJ Open: https://tinyurl.com/Richetal2016.

They found that a lack of work-life balance in postgraduate medical training negatively impacted trainees’ learning and well-being. The expectation to prioritise work at the cost of their personal lives resulted in low morale and harmed well-being.

To help address this, Prof Anna Cox and Dr Antonia Rich are planning to develop interventions to improve junior doctors’ well-being. In March and April 2018 we are running a series of free workshops with postgraduate medical trainees in three hospitals: the Royal Free, Whittington and University College Hospital. At the workshops, we will explore how to enhance resilience and improve well-being. The first part of the workshop will look at how we can increase our resilience through self-care, and the second part of the workshop will look at how creating microboundaries can support work-life balance. Using “reflection cards” we will prompt discussions in which participants will reflect on and share their own experience of the practical issues they face.

We would like junior doctors who participate in the workshops to have:

  • Increased awareness of research on work-life balance;
  • Knowledge of the concept of ‘resilience’ and how they can foster it in their own lives to enhance their well-being;
  • Greater awareness of the role that digital technology can play to improve their work-life balance.

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