Peer-Peer Community Building: One of the Strongest Preventers of Burn-Out

Volume 1, Issue 1

“Wellness is a proactive approach to our physical, emotional, social, and mental state of health.” ~Anonymous

by Lucia Derks, MD

It’s nearing the end of the year, when the fourth years are moving on to real paychecks or slightly improved with fellowship, and everyone else is preparing for their new roles ahead.  The end of the academic year can feel like a period of stagnation and possibly regret.  Fear not, however, there are easy solutions and ways to prevent burn-out, the term people like to say frequently to EM physicians.  I’m not burned out! I’m just toasty sometimes!

The term “Burn-Out” has been defined by numerous studies as “the psychological syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, or cynicism, and reduced sense of personal accomplishment that develops in response to prolonged occupational stress and depletion of personal coping resources.” 1The defining of oneself as suffering from “burn out” is more of a tool to assist with proactive measures to prevent and combat it, rather than piling one more negative attribute onto an already burdened mind. 

According to a study from 2014 published in the Canadian Medical Education Journal, protective factors against burnout include: having a supportive medical community with positive role models and mentors, residents feeling their work was valued by their patients, preceptors, and coworkers, developing meaningful relationships with patients and coworkers, and having a supportive family.2   With all of these factors listed above, a common theme emerges:  community building, whether that be at the work place or at home.  This is the inaugural newsletter in hopefully a long line of wellness newsletters to promote community building and improve resiliency.  We are all in this together; so let’s support each other and have some fun!


  1. Maslach C, Schaufeli W, Leiter M. Job burnout.  In: Fiske S, Schacter D, Zahn-Waxler C, editors.  Annu Rev Psychol; 2001. pp. 397-422.
  2. Rutherford, K., & Oda, J. (2014). Family medicine residency training and burnout: a qualitative study. Canadian Medical Education Journal, 5(1), e13-e23.