Resident Wellness

Resident Wellness Policy

Residency is a challenging time both professionally and personally.  A new level of expectations and responsibility come with entering residency training. 

The Family Medicine Postgraduate team encourages all students, residents, faculty, and staff to be aware of their role in supporting the health, mental health, and wellbeing of all those who are a part of our Family Medicine residency program.

A commitment to personal health and balance between personal life and professional responsibilities is one of the central professionalism themes of the CFPC.  We recognize that there are times when residents will require assistance and/or support during their training.  We encourage you to be knowledgeable about the resources available to you for your wellness. 

The pressures of a busy residency program, complicated by other lifestyle conflicts, can contribute to a situation of emotional distress during residency training.  As residents progress through our program, they assume greater responsibility for patients and professionalism, and may find that pressures mount with respect to transitioning to practice and preparedness for a career in family medicine or pursuing enhanced skills training after residency.

Each family medicine resident is paired with a faculty member as their Faculty Advisor.  Your faculty advisor can help with many areas of concern including but not limited to adapting to residency and its challenges, identifying your career path, and thinking about transition to practice.  You will meet with your Faculty Advisor regularly throughout your training and topics for discussion at each meeting range from physical and emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing, clinical rotations and evaluation reviews, elective choices, career opportunities, and more.

Unfortunately, on occasion, there can still be incidences of intra-professional disrespect, intimidation and/or harassment, excessive demands, insecurity, and/or anxiety for residents during their training.  When encountered, these incidences may result in residents denying feelings or being overwhelmed, fatigued, or stressed.  These incidences are not acceptable and our Department, the PGME office and the University all recognize the need to act against such incidences. 

Residents are encouraged to alert the Program Director, your Faculty Advisor, and/or chief resident when they have concerns for themselves, a resident colleague, or a faculty member displaying signs of burnout, depression, or substance abuse.

We hope all the skills and collegial relationships you develop throughout residency will insulate you from burnout during residency and will carry you well into your future careers.

Resident responsibilities:

  1. Residents are responsible for reporting fit for duty and able to perform their clinical duties in a safe, appropriate and effective manner free from the adverse effects of physical, mental, emotional and personal problems including impairment due to fatigue. Residents have a professional responsibility to appear for duty appropriately rested and must manage their time before, during, and after clinical assignments to prevent excessive fatigue.
  2. Residents are responsible for assessing and recognizing impairment, including illness and fatigue, in themselves and in their peers.
  3. If a resident is experiencing problems, he/she is encouraged to voluntarily seek assistance before clinical, educational and professional performance is affected; as well as interpersonal relationships or behaviour are adversely affected. Residents, who voluntarily seek assistance for physical, mental, emotional and/or personal problems, including drug and alcohol dependency, before their performance is adversely affected, will not jeopardize their status as a resident by seeking assistance.
  4. If at any time a resident feels that impairment will have a negative impact on patient outcomes, it is their professional responsibility to notify their faculty immediately and request leave.
  5. Residents who feel they are impaired by fatigue should be allowed to take appropriate action, including leave if needed, without fear of reprisal

Residency training program responsibilities:

  1. It is the responsibility of the Program Director(s) and all faculty members to be aware of resident behaviour and conduct.
  2. If a Program Director or faculty member observes physical, mental, or emotional problems affecting the performance of a resident, including impairment due to excessive fatigue, the member must take steps to verify the impairment and take appropriate action.
  3. Chief residents should also be aware of the behaviour and conduct of fellow residents. If a Chief resident (site chief or program wide chief) observes physical, mental, or emotional issues affecting the performance of a resident, including impairment due to excessive fatigue, the Chief Resident should immediately notify the Program Director, Associate Program Director, and/or Site Director.
  4. The Family Medicine Postgraduate Education Committee has two wellness representatives, one faculty member and one resident. These Wellness representatives will report on relevant wellness activities, including issues related to the hidden curriculum during committee meetings.
  5. It is the responsibility of the individual rotations to provide reasonable accommodations (ie. Adjustments to duty hours, on-call schedules) to enable the resident to participate in counselling (voluntarily or mandated). If this is not accommodated, the resident should bring it to the attention of the Program Director.

Resources available to all residents:

A commitment to personal health and seeing balance between personal life and professional responsibilities is one of the central themes of professionalism of the CFPC.  We recognize that there are times when residents will require assistance and/or support as they proceed through their training.  We encourage you to take advantage of the resources available to you. 

Our goal is that you succeed and we want you to be functioning at your best so you are able to take full advantage of the opportunities available to you.

  1. Residents who are feeling harassed, intimidated and/or discriminated against should access one or more of the following support resources:
    • Learner Experience Office (see below)
    • PARO
    • Program Director and/or Associate Program Director
    • Faculty Advisor
    • Postgraduate Education Committee Wellness representatives
    • Chief Residents
  2. Residents suffering from undue stress during their residency training are encouraged to contact:
    • The resident’s personal Family Physician
    • Faculty Advisor
    • Program Director and/or Associate Program Director
    • Family Medicine Confidential Mentorship Program
    • OMA helpline for Physicians (see below)
    • PARO helpline for residents
    • Learner Experience Office
    • Employee and Family Assistance Program
  3. Residents who are struggling with academics are encouraged to contact their Faculty Advisor, Program Director and/or Associate Program Director
  4. Residents and staff are encouraged to contact the appropriate resources if they know of a colleague who is suffering from undue stress, intimidation, or harassment.

Links to Resources:

As a student, or a resident at Western University, and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, you have access to a variety of resources to assist you with your wellness goals.

University/Hospital Resources:


Contact Information

Faculty Advisor Program

The purpose of the Faculty Advisor Program is to provide longitudinal mentoring and support for you.

Confidential Mentorship Program

The purpose of the Confidential Mentorship Program is to give residents the opportunity to have confidential mentoring if they want it.

Schulich Learner Experience Office

Learner Experience at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry focuses on the physical, psychological and professional safety of learners, as well as supporting academic wellness and providing career guidance.


Dr. Sandra Northcott, Associate Dean, Learner Experience

Dr. Michelle Marlborough, Assistant Dean, Learner Experience, Postgraduate Wellness

Ms. Pam Bere, Manager/Counsellor, Learner Experience: 519.661.2111 x 86250


Dr. Arthur Kidd, Assistant Director, Learner Experience: 519.258.1335

Ms. Stephanie Coccimiglio, Learner Experience: 519.253.3000 x4302

Report an issue

Wellness Courses offered by multiple providers:


London Health Sciences Centredownload the catalog guide
St. Joseph’s Health Care
Employee Assistance Program (through St. Joseph’s Healthcare)
o Available courses in 2021-2022 - please contact LHSC or St. Joseph's Healthcare.

Western Student Health Services 

Health & Wellness offers an appointment based medical clinic for all registered part-time and full-time students at Western and affiliated colleges. 519.661.3030


Other Resources:

PARO hotline -  Postgraduate Wellness 

The PARO 24 Hour Helpline is available for any resident, partner or medical student needing help. It is separately administered by the Distress Centre of Toronto and is totally confidential.
Phone: 1.866.435.7362 (1-866-HELP-DOC)

Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Physician Health Program (PHP) 

A confidential service providing assistance on issues, such as stress, burnout, mental health, and substance use issues, to both physicians and their families. They offer expedited referrals to third party providers with expertise in physician health.

Please visit the website for more information or call 1-800-851-6606.

Confidential help line: 1-800-851-6606

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) | 24/7 National Crisis

CMHA is a nationwide organization that promotes mental health and supports people recovering from mental illness. 1.833.456.4566 



ConnexOntario provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness or gambling by connecting them with services in their area. We are funded by the Government of Ontario.

24/7 Provincially funded live chat and chat line: 1.866.531.2600

Reach Out

Reach Out is a free, 24/7, confidential mental health and addictions support and services line for people living in Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford and London. If you need mental health and addictions help, Reach Out is the one service you should connect with.

24/7 crisis line 519.433.2023



Relevant Policies

Family Medicine Resident Safety Policy

Centralized Policy - PGME Resident Health and Safety Policy

Centralized Policy - Western Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Centralized Policy - PGME Supervision of Postgraduate Medical Trainees on Clinical Rotations


 Last updated and approved: September 1, 2021