Wellness Strategies for Emergency Medicine Residents

Zachary Lutsky
Zachary Lutsky

Emergency medicine physician Dr. Zachary Lutsky spent over a decade working at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in Los Angeles. Before joining the center, Dr. Zachary Lutsky completed his residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Residents working in emergency departments are at elevated risk of burnout. It is crucial that residency programs emphasize wellness strategies as part of the residency program.

Sleep — Residencies in emergency medicine often require long shifts and an irregular schedule, which can negatively impact circadian rhythms. Experts suggest staggering shifts from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. and 3 a.m. to 12 p.m., rather than scheduling residents to work through the night.

Stress Management — Residents must build up resilience to handle the stressful circumstances they work under. To support residents, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) set up the online resource Medical Student Well-Being to help students create a personal wellness plan.

Balance — Separation between work and home life is essential to preventing burnout. Residents should spend at least one hour a day focusing on non-work-or-school-related activities and set aside time to be with family and friends.