Meet the Physician Health and Wellbeing Group led by Trainees

Encouraging higher standards of health and wellbeing supports for RCPI Trainees

By Dr Gordon Haire, HST Occupational Medicine, December 2019

The Physician Health and Wellbeing group at RCPI is an active trainee-led initiative that aims to promote and encourage higher standards of health and wellbeing supports for all trainees on RCPI training programmes. We are a diverse group of trainees with representation from each of the six faculties and a mix of basic and higher specialist trainees. Set up some years back, the group has grown each year in both membership and scope.

As of last year, two members are elected directly by RCPI trainees to sit on the RCPI Trainees’ Committee as BST and HST representatives for Health & Wellbeing.

We receive valuable help and input from RCPI staff; in particular from the manager of the College’s newly launched Health & Wellbeing department, psychologist Hadas Levy, its Clinical Lead Prof Gaye Cunnane and Alexandra St John from the Education department, all of whom regularly attend our monthly meetings. They provide valuable knowledge and expertise to guide us in our various projects.

What we are working on

The cumulation of the work of last year’s group (2018-2019) was a workshop set up with consultant and trainee representatives from each of the Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies to discuss how we can create an environment of positive health and wellbeing for all medical practitioners in Ireland. Following this, one of our projects this year (2019-2020) is to try to set up a national health and wellbeing group through the Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies.

Other projects underway include the extension of health, wellbeing and resilience training to BST trainees and the establishment of a national health and wellbeing day at training sites.

A new project for this year focuses on the unique difficulties faced by doctors who are also parents. We are currently working on a number of initiatives to advocate for this group of trainees so their needs can be better met.

A Health and & Wellbeing booklet with a focus on how to access existing services and understand the ins-and-outs of navigating work in the Irish healthcare system has been approved by the NDTP and will hopefully turn out to have national scope.

A final project for this year is our effort to seek approval for official committee status though RCPI governance structures.

A focus on practical initiatives

We recognise that many of the difficulties facing trainees have a systemic nature and root causes over which we may have no direct control or influence.

We try to focus on projects and issues that we can have direct influence on with a focus on simple, practical initiatives that can have the biggest impact for the most people.

You will find advice and information about physician wellbeing on the RCPI website here