Wellness lounge for residents will open soon

by Tom O'Connor, UNMC public relations | July 18, 2019

Image with caption: An artist's rendering of the resident's lounge

An artist's rendering of the resident's lounge

Resident physicians/house officers are the unsung heroes of an academic medical center. They serve as the lifeblood for the full spectrum of patient care. They work incredibly long hours yet almost never are in the spotlight.

As a way to improve our clinical learning environment and show appreciation for the more than 550 residents and fellows working at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, a new wellness lounge area has been constructed for them.

The 1,900 square foot space is located on the second floor of the Medical Sciences Building, just east of the Werner Cancer Hospital in the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. The area formerly served as office space but has been unoccupied shell space since the cancer center opened in 2017.

Thanks from the residents

"We want to thank the GME office and the hospital leadership for their continued support of resident wellness. A project like this could not be completed without a tremendous amount of support from the hospital administration. The new House Officers Wellness Lounge is a testament to the hospital's commitment to supporting its resident physicians. We know there are always ongoing efforts behind the scenes to continually improve our training environment, and we thank the GME office and hospital administration for being receptive and inclusive of the residents."

-Gautam Malhotra, M.D., Ph.D., president of the UNMC House Officers Association

During his five years as chancellor at UNMC, Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., has made a strong commitment to wellness and addressing the learning environment associated with the medical profession in the area of graduate medical education.

He is currently in the middle of a two-year term as chair of the board of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the organization that reviews and accredits 11,200 graduate medical education programs with nearly 140,941 house officers and the 830 institutions that sponsor them in the United States.

"This is something that absolutely needed to be done," Dr. Gold said. "We want UNMC/Nebraska Medicine to be a leader among academic medical centers in setting the standard for providing a clinical learning environment that focuses significantly on the wellness of our residents. This lounge area demonstrates the commitment to our house officers and truly sets us apart from other institutions. It is a part of a comprehensive approach to enhancing the clinical learning environment.We couldn't be more proud."

The facility -- called the House Officers Wellness Lounge -- will feature three key components:

  • A work area, including a conference room and computer work stations as well as a refrigerator and microwave;
  • An exercise area with a treadmill, a stationary bike and an elliptical machine and male/female showers and restrooms;
  • Three relaxation rooms and a meditation room.

"House officers are one of the few professions who are regularly scheduled to work as many as 80 hours per week for three to seven years or more," said Chandra Are, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education for the UNMC College of Medicine. "Physician burnout is a problem of significant proportion. This lounge will provide a place to improve their wellbeing and make the learning environment more nurturing, friendly and conducive."

Being a physician is considered to be one of the most stressful jobs in society. The American Medical Association estimates that almost 50 percent of physicians experience symptoms of serious job burnout, attributed in part due to the demands and stress of patient care, long hours and the increasing administrative burdens associated with practicing medicine.

As the designated institutional official (DIO), Dr. Are oversees all of the 64 residency and fellowship programs for UNMC/Nebraska Medicine.

He praised Dr. Gold for being the driving force in making the lounge happen and for his steadfast commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents and fellows.

"I am thrilled that we are making this tremendous statement of support to improve wellness and the clinical learning environment for our residents," Dr. Are said. "The days of residents working 28-hour shifts or participating in 8-12 straight hours in the operating room, then coming out to eat a slice of cold pizza are neither humane nor acceptable. Just because it was done in the past does not give us the license to perpetuate those practices in the present day."

Dr. Are said the entire GME community at UNMC would like to extend its sincere thanks to all those who made the wellness lounge happen. In addition to Dr. Gold, he specifically cited James Linder, M.D., CEO of Nebraska Medicine, Bradley Britigan, M.D., dean of the UNMC College of Medicine, and Ken Hansen, associate vice chancellor of facilities for UNMC and vice president of facilities at Nebraska Medicine.

He also expressed his gratitude to the UNMC House Officers Association for all its guidance in the planning of this new facility.

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carol drake
July 18, 2019 at 1:08 PM

Really impressive! Would like to say it makes me want to be a resident again I can’t quite get there 🥴