CME Course

Is It All COVID-19? Resident Distress and Reasons for It in 2020

In this article, the authors sought to disentangle the etiological factors for distress in residents in the current chaotic tapestry of residency training experiences. For training, adjustment, and thriving, it is important to understand and discern what distress stems from residency itself, the additional burden of COVID-19, and/or a fluid sociopolitical climate.

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Target Audience

Southern Medical Journal (SMJ) is an interdisciplinary, multi-specialty Journal, and articles span the spectrum of medical topics, providing timely, up-to-date information for primary care physicians and specialists alike. The SMJ enables physicians to provide the best possible care to patients in this age of rapidly changing modern medicine.  Therefore, the readers of the SMJ are an appropriate target for this article.

Goals and Objectives

For more than 30 years residency training has been recognized as a stressful experience. Focusing on polar terms such as burnout and wellness, the contemporary literature and daily experience suggest that the adjustment challenges of residency remain. In 2020 and continuing, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic added another layer to the stressors of clinical care and training. The impact, which is ongoing, extends beyond residents to staff physicians and all healthcare workers.

The authors sought to disentangle the etiological factors for distress in residents in the current chaotic tapestry of residency training experiences. For training, adjustment, and thriving, it is important to understand and discern what distress stems from residency itself, the additional burden of COVID-19, and/or a fluid sociopolitical climate. This is especially true as we try to prevent and intervene with the deleterious effects of these stressors. At the conclusion of the activity, learners should be better prepared to:

  • Discuss the ‘common cause‘ stress factors that contribute to distress during residency training;
  • Discuss the ‘special cause’ acute stress factors associated with the COVID pandemic, sociopolitical conditions, supply and demand shortfalls being experienced by the healthcare system that are being superimposed on residents and other roles working in the healthcare system;
  • Design prevention and intervention strategies to mitigate the distress being experienced due to ‘common cause’ expected resident stress factors and superimposed ‘special cause’ acute stress factors due to the pandemic and other issues over the last couple of years.

Course Information

CME Release Date: June 2, 2022
Valid for credit through:  June 1, 2023
Course type: CME Journal Article 
Estimated time of completion: 1 hour

Credits Available

Southern Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Southern Medical Association designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

AAPA: AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society. 

AANPCP: The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Healthcare Professionals
For information on applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.  All healthcare professionals who are not MDs or DOs will receive a certificate of participation.

Instructions for Participation and Credit

This activity is designed to be completed within the time designated; learners should claim only those credits that reflect the time actually spent in the activity. To successfully earn credit, participants must complete the activity online during the valid credit period noted, following these steps:

  • Read the goals and objectives, accreditation information, and author disclosures.
  • Login in below to study the educational content and references.
  • Complete the attestation, post-test (if applicable), and evaluation.

Upon successful completion of these components, your certificate will be processed and emailed from customerservice@sma.org within approximately 1 hour. Credits will be archived for 6 years; at any point within this time period you may login to your account to print a duplicate copy of your certificate.

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

Southern Medical Association (SMA) requires instructors, planners, managers, and all other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose conflicts of interest (COI) with ineligible entities within the last 24 months of the development of this activity. All identified COIs are thoroughly vetted and mitigated prior to the release of the activity. SMA is committed to providing its learners with high quality activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.

The following individuals, unless otherwise notedhave no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Manuscript Author(s):
Hafiz Qurashi, MBBS, MD
Anas Atrash, MD
Michael J. Asken, PhD 

Southern Medical Association/Southern Medical Journal Editorial Staff:
Steven T. Baldwin, MD, SMJ Editor-in-Chief
Jennifer S. Price, MA, Managing Editor
Anita McCabe, Copyeditor

Course Materials

This Course is Free to All Healthcare Professionals

Please choose an option below to continue:

Log In

Existing account holders can login now to start this course immediately.

Sign Up

Create an account to access this free content, it takes only a moment and you will not be asked for payment information.

Premium Access

Premium members get access to the courses, the entire Southern Medical Journal and more. View all membership plans and benefit packages.