No one has ever complained about taking a mental health day, which is why it’s not surprising that 87 percent of radiology residents have reported that “wellness days” can decrease or prevent feelings of burnout, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
Researchers from the radiology department at Emory University’s School of Medicine redistributed five wellness days from residents’ standard 12 sick days. The purpose of the wellness days was to give residents time to take care of their physical and mental health or take care of “self-care activities.” Residents needed to submit a request to take a wellness day at least two weeks in advance.
Seventy-eight of the residents who participated in the wellness days responded to the survey conducted by the group of researchers led by Dexter Mendoza, MD. Overall, 87 percent of responding residents “agreed or strongly agreed that wellness days can prevent or reduce burnout.” They claimed that wellness days contributed significantly to their quality of life, and 69 percent “agreed or strongly agreed that wellness days have a positive impact on their experiences as a resident.”
Wellness days could be a normalized facet of residency programs. “If used and regulated properly, we believe wellness days have the potential to decrease the number of sick days taken by residents,” wrote the researchers. “In our experience, wellness days also allowed greater predictability in resident staffing and allowed the chief residents to ensure adequate coverage for the clinical services in advance.”