Efforts, rewards and professional autonomy determine residents’ experienced well-being

Lases et al. 2018. Advances in Health Sciences Education

The well-being of residents, our future medical specialists, is not only beneficial to the individual physician but also conditional for delivering high-quality patient care. Therefore, the authors further explored how residents experience their own well-being in relation to their professional and personal life. The authors conducted a qualitative study based on a phenomenological approach. From June to October 2013, 13 in-depth interviews were conducted with residents in various training programs using a semi-structured interview guide to explore participants’ experience of their well-being in relation to their professional life. The data were collected and analyzed through an iterative process using the thematic network approach. Effort–reward balance and perceived autonomy were dominant overarching experiences in influencing residents’ well-being. Experiencing sufficient autonomy was important in residents’ roles as caregivers, as learners and in their personal lives. The experienced effort–reward balance could both positively and negatively influence well-being. We found two categories of ways that influence residents’ experience of well-being; (1) professional lives: delivering patient care, participating in teamwork, learning at the workplace and dealing with the organization and (2) personal lives: dealing with personal characteristics and balancing work–life. In residents’ well-being experiences, the effort–reward balance and perceived autonomy are crucial. Additionally, ways that influence residents’ well-being are identified in both their professional and personal lives. These dominant experiences and ways that influence well-being could be key factors for interventions and residency training adaptations for enhancing residents’ well-being.