5 Questions on Health & Wellness for 2 Medical Learners

Alana PoonDr. Alana Poon

Medical Student

Question 1:  As a student/resident is it difficult to live a healthy lifestyle?

Yes. I find the most challenging aspect of trying to live a healthy lifestyle as a medical student is the difficulty in establishing a healthy routine amidst a busy and constantly changing schedule. It is difficult to commit to extracurricular sports/activities or a personal exercise schedule with call shifts and changing rotations.

Question 2:  When you reflect on past year, did you have any big wellness wins?

A big wellness win for me was engaging in extracurricular hobbies that I had done much less of since starting medical school. I was able to do more art and journaling this past year. These activities help to relax and refresh me.

Question 3: What is the best life lesson that you have learned that has affected your overall life or work/life balance.

It was during a challenging time in my first year of medicine that I learnt the importance of balance and personal wellness. During this time I turned inward, spoke with family and friends but also accessed the student counseling services. Through this experience I learnt that academic goals cannot be achieved at the sacrifice of personal health and wellbeing and that my own desire to stay involved in activities outside of medicine would help me maintain and develop the emotional intelligence necessary to be a great physician.

Question 4: How did you hear about the Doctors Manitoba Health and Wellness Committee and why did you want to become a member?

I was connected with the Doctors Manitoba Health and Wellness Committee through my position as Wellness Representative on the MMSA. I was excited to become a member and was interested in promoting health and wellness beyond medical school. The Doctors Manitoba Health and Wellness Committee has also provided our student Wellness Committee with a lot of support without which we would not have been able to execute much of our wellness programming.

Question 5: What kinds of things do you think would be most useful about the Physician and Family Support Program?

I think that the confidential counselling for physicians as well as their families is the most useful service provided by the Physician and Family Support program. I believe that this service should be better promoted right from the start of medical school.

 

annie finlaysonDr. Annie Finlayson

Resident

Question 1:  As a student/resident is it difficult to live a healthy lifestyle?

There are definitely challenges.  Some aspects of a career in medicine require an endurance and intensity that is not in keeping with a balanced life as some people understand it.  When you are on call for instance and working for an entire day and night there is no such thing as balance within that day.  So, the popular representation of work vs. life balance can be problematic during the early stages of a career in medicine.  That being said, I think with intention students/residents can still lead very healthy lives.

Question 2:  When you reflect on past year, did you have any big wellness wins?

I was elected to be PARIM’s Wellness Representative this year. The biggest win professionally has been assembling and having the support of a wonderful committee of co-residents who are passionate about wellness and helping to implement initiatives for their peers.  I am happy to have been able to help organize paint nights, sports evenings, and book clubs that help people engage activities that bring them joy.   I have also enjoyed more balance in my own life this past year than the year before and part of that is just a function of being in my second year of residency and having a bit more time to pursue interests outside of medicine.

Question 3: What is the best life lesson that you have learned that has affected your overall life or work/life balance.

The most important thing I have learned about myself is that when I practice good self-care and engage in activities I find meaningful, inside work and out, I am far abler to be present, proficient, and compassionate.  So I have learned that tending to my needs enables me to bring my best self to my life as whole.

Question 4: How did you hear about the Doctors Manitoba Health and Wellness Committee and why did you want to become a member?

I heard about it and became a member through PARIM.

Question 5: What kinds of things do you think would be most useful about the Physician and Family Support Program?

It is very accessible once you are aware of it.  After becoming a member of the Doctors Manitoba Physician Health and Wellness committee I went online and registered with the Physician and Family Support Program and browsed through the available resources. There are a number of great guidance resources online including a variety of interesting articles related to health and wellness. The program is quite comprehensive and offers services over the phone and in-person.  They are equipped to help physicians with anything – financial, legal, personal – you name it!