The Pediatric Residency Program has a multi-layered approach to monitoring resident stress and providing counseling and support services to residents. Each resident has a faculty advisor with whom he/she is expected to meet with three times per year. The faculty advisors and program director maintain an "open door" policy, encouraging residents to share personal or programmatic concerns on an ad hoc basis. The majority of stressful situations in which the faculty advisors and/or program director have had to intervene have been personal rather than programmatic. Full psychological and psychiatric counseling is available to all residents and is covered under the resident’s health benefits. The program has been successful in dealing with the issue of financial stress to the extent that, with programmatic support, a number of residents have been able to secure AAP resident financial scholarships. The program is currently working to produce a Resident Wellness Curriculum that includes modules on stress reduction, work-life balance, healthy eating choices and mental health.
There are also institutional supports for the residents such as The house staff Council whose mission is to improve patient care and graduate medical education by facilitating communication between the residents, the university, the hospitals and our community. The House Staff Council is a representative organization serving the residents and fellows at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The council is made up of four officers and representatives from each department. Pediatric residents have served the past two years as officers on this council. The council interacts with the faculty through the Working Environment subcommittee of the Graduate Medical Education Committee with many important issues being handled here including those involving, on-call meals, call room and work space requirements and resident safety in and around our facilities.
The Department of Pediatrics has substantial on-going research activities in General and Community Pediatrics, Neonatology, Critical Care, and the sub-specialties. A variety of faculty research role models are available for the house staff within the Department of Pediatrics and in other Health Science Center Departments.
All residents are supported in their requirement of completing a Quality Improvement (QI) project over their 3 years with the program. In addition to the initial QI project there is a requirement of an additional QI project for general pediatric bound residents and a scholarly activity project for subspecialty bound trainees.
All residents have the opportunity to participate in basic and clinical research during their three years of training. Residents following an Individualized Resident Track for future sub-specialty training are required to complete one scholarly project during their three years in the program. A listing of all faculty and their research interests are provided to residents along with a longitudinal curriculum on the research process. Over the past year, 50% of our residents have produced a scholarly project which has been published, presented in a poster format or presented at a national conference including the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. Residents have the opportunity to attend the annual departmental research day during which both faculty and residents present summaries of their research activities over the past year.
For those residents pursing a general pediatric practice or a hospitalist position, quality improvement projects or community advocacy projects are required. Last year all residents completed a quality improvement project; with the inpatient rotations providing ongoing didactic training on quality improvement and patient safety. All house staff are required to complete the IHI “open school” modules on these topics.