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With her colleagues in the Research Department for Medical Education (RDME) at UCL Medical School, Dr Antonia Rich recently interviewed 96 trainees who told them the many challenges to work-life balance they face. The study, “You can’t be a person, and a doctor” (Rich et al., 2016), was published in BMJ Open: https://tinyurl.com/Richetal2016.

They found that a lack of work-life balance in postgraduate medical training negatively impacted trainees’ learning and well-being. The expectation to prioritise work at the cost of their personal lives resulted in low morale and harmed well-being.

To help address this, Prof Anna Cox and Dr Antonia Rich developed an intervention to improve junior doctors’ well-being. In March and April 2018 we ran a series of free workshops with postgraduate medical trainees in three hospitals: the Royal Free, Whittington and University College Hospital. At the workshops, we explored how to enhance resilience and improve well-being. The first part of the workshop looked at how we can increase our resilience through self-care, and the second part of the workshop looked at how creating microboundaries can support work-life balance. Using “reflection cards” we prompted discussions in which participants reflected on and shared their own experience of the practical issues they face.