Resident Well-Being

POLICY #: 8240.30


In the current health care environment, residents and faculty members are at increased risk for burnout and depression. Psychological, emotional, and physical well-being are critical in the development of the competent, caring, and resilient physician. Self-care is an important component of professionalism; it is also a skill that must be learned and nurtured in the context of other aspects of residency training. Programs, in partnership with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, have the same responsibility to address well-being as they do to evaluate other aspects of resident competence.


1. The residency programs at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital will include:

A) Efforts to enhance the meaning that each resident finds in the experience of being a physician, including protecting time with patients, minimizing non-physician obligations, providing administrative support, promoting progressive autonomy and flexibility, and enhancing professional relationships;

B) Attention to scheduling, work intensity, and work compression that impacts resident-well-being;

C) Evaluating workplace safety data and addressing the safety of residents and faculty members;

i. Workplace safety data will be presented once a year at GMEC, or more often as necessary, with targeted discussion around resident and faculty member safety.

D) Policies and programs that encourage optimal resident and faculty member well-being; and,

i. Residents must be given the opportunity to attend medical, mental health, and dental care appointments, including those scheduled during their working hours.

E) Attention to resident and faculty member burnout, depression, and substance abuse. The residency programs, in partnership with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, must educate faculty members and residents in identification of the symptoms of burnout, depression, and substance abuse, including means to assist those who experience these conditions. Residents and faculty members must also be educated to recognize those symptoms in themselves and how to seek appropriate care.

i. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital will offer education on resident and faculty member burnout, depression, and substance abuse each year.

ii. The residency programs, in partnership with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, must:

1. Encourage residents and faculty members to alert the program director or other designated personnel or programs when they are concerned that another resident, fellow, or faculty member may be displaying signs of burnout, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, or potential for violence;

2. Provide access to appropriate tools for self-screening; and,

3. Provide access to confidential, affordable mental health assessment, counseling, and treatment, including access to urgent and emergent care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SBCH’s Employee Assistance Program is available to all residents and faculty members.

2. There are circumstances in which residents may be unable to attend work, including but not limited to fatigue, illness, and family emergencies. Each program must have policies and procedures in place that ensure coverage of patient care in the event that a resident may be unable to perform their patient care responsibilities. These policies must be implemented without fear of negative consequences for the resident who is unable to provide the clinical work. See each program’s “Clinical Education and Experience” policy for more information.

3. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital must ensure a healthy and safe clinical and educational environment that provides for:

A) Access to food during clinical and educational assignments;

B) Sleep/rest facilities that are safe, quiet, clean, and private, and that must be available and accessible for residents, with proximity appropriate for safe patient care;

C) Safe transportation options for residents who may be too fatigued to safely return home on their own;

D) Clean and private facilities for lactation with proximity appropriate for safe patient care, and clean and safe refrigeration resources for the storage of breast milk;

E) Safety and security measures appropriate to the clinical learning environment site; and,

F) Accommodations for residents with disabilities, consistent with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s policy.


APPROVED BY: E. Wroblewski, M.D. (CMO) DATE: 1/18, 1/21
DATE REVISED: 1/18, 1/21
DATE REVIEWED: 1/18, 1/21