February 28, 2019

Back to Bedside, Back to Meaning in Medicine

Why did you enter medicine? Was it to fill out reports? Do paperwork? Enter numbers on a computer? Or was it, just perhaps, to help your patients?

Back to Bedside is an ACGME-sponsored program designed to help residents and fellows bring greater meaning to their work, by providing them with a chance to create their own projects that give them opportunities to return to patients’ bedsides in meaningful ways.

The program began in 2018, and the response was amazing. In its first year, the ACGME hoped to fund five projects. But so many thoughtful, original, and valuable ideas were submitted that the ACGME funded 30 projects, representing 15 specialties across 16 states. See highlights of some of the projects currently underway, and hear from some of the currently funded residents and fellows discussing the program and their projects in the video above.

Each funded project is unique and creative, ranging from a Resident Trading Card Program to initiatives designed to improve interdisciplinary teamwork. The common element in all the projects is that they allow residents and fellows connect with the reason they went into medicine: their desire to help people. These programs are benefiting patients by cultivating a more caring atmosphere, and the residents and fellows are finding the programs help improve their own well-being, too.

“Entering the clinical learning environment, residents and fellows encounter a variety of challenges, including administrative burdens, the personal pressure of appearing infallible to patients, and heavy caseloads that may distance them from the very reason they entered medicine in the first place: connecting with patients. This can lead to burnout, and even depression if unaddressed,” said Timothy P. Brigham, MDiv, PhD, ACGME chief of staff and chief education and organizational development officer. “Back to Bedside empowers residents and fellows to identify opportunities to engage with patients, find joy and meaning in work, and inspire their colleagues to do the same.”

Back to Bedside funding is available through a competitive process. A call for applications for a new round of funding is open now, and closes March 15, 2019. The ACGME is looking for original projects that emerge from insights into the daily work that clinicians do. If you’re a current resident or fellow, consider this an opportunity to make a difference. Review current Back to Bedside projects, think about the clinical situation within your own place of work, and then…get creative. Solve a problem. Develop a solution. Then apply for funding to implement your solution. If you’re a faculty member or program director, share this with your residents and fellows and encourage them to apply.

For more information about the program, including highlights of currently funded projects, please visit www.acgme.org/backtobedside. The ACGME is committed to physician well-being, and we invite you to submit your application to help bring more meaning to your experience in medicine.