Medical student wellness in Canada: time for a national curriculum framework

Authors

  • Dax Bourcier Dalhousie University https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9400-6507
  • Rena Far Cumming School of Medicine
  • Lucas B King University of Saskatchewan
  • George Cai McGill University https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8257-5681
  • Joanna Mader Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Maggie ZX Xiao University of Alberta https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7534-6079
  • Christopher Simon Canadian Medical Association
  • Taylor McFadden Canadian Medical Association
  • Leslie Flynn Queen’s University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.36834/cmej.73008

Keywords:

English (Canada)

Abstract

There is substantial evidence showing that medical student wellness is a worsening problem in Canada. It is apparent that medical students’ wellness deteriorates throughout their training. Medical schools and their governing bodies are responding by integrating wellness into competency frameworks and accreditation standards through a combination of system- and individual-level approaches. System-level strategies that consider how policies, medical culture, and the “hidden curriculum” impact student wellness, are essential for reducing burnout prevalence and achieving optimal wellness outcomes. Individual-level initiatives such as wellness programming are widespread and more commonly used. These are often didactic, placing the onus on the student without addressing the learning environment. Despite significant progress, there is little programming consistency across schools or training levels. There is no wellness curriculum framework for Canadian undergraduate medical education that aligns with residency competencies. Creating such a framework would help align individual- and system-level initiatives and smooth the transition from medical school to residency. The framework would organize goals within relevant wellness domains, allow for local adaptability, consider basic learner needs, and be learner-informed. Physicians whose wellness has been supported throughout their training will positively contribute to the quality of patient care, work environments, and in sustaining a healthy Canadian population.

Author Biographies

Dax Bourcier, Dalhousie University

Dax Bourcier is a resident physician, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Rena Far, Cumming School of Medicine

Rena Far is resident physician, Department of Neurosurgery, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

Lucas B King, University of Saskatchewan

Lucas B. King is a medical student, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

George Cai, McGill University

George Cai is a resident physician, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University.

Joanna Mader, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Joanna Mader is a resident physician, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, Canada.

Maggie ZX Xiao, University of Alberta

Maggie Z. X. Xiao is a medical student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Christopher Simon, Canadian Medical Association

Christopher Simon is a Strategic Advisor, Physician Wellness and Medical Culture, Canadian Medical Association.

Taylor McFadden, Canadian Medical Association

Taylor McFadden is an Advisor, Physician Wellness and Medical Culture, Canadian Medical Association.

Leslie Flynn, Queen’s University

Leslie Flynn is a Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, and Vice-Dean, Education, Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.

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Published

2021-11-28

How to Cite

1.
Bourcier D, Far R, King LB, Cai G, Mader J, Xiao MZ, Simon C, McFadden T, Flynn L. Medical student wellness in Canada: time for a national curriculum framework . Can. Med. Ed. J [Internet]. 2021 Nov. 28 [cited 2022 Jul. 1];12(6):103-7. Available from: https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/cmej/article/view/73008

Issue

Section

Canadiana