Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill,

2 Department of Medicine and Social Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, North Carolina, USA


BACKGROUND: Humanism is a central tenant of professionalism, a required competency for all
residency programs. Yet, few residencies have formal curriculum for teaching this critical aspect of
medicine. Instead, professionalism and humanism are often taught informally through role‑modeling.
With increased burnout, faculty professionalism may suffer and may compromise resident
role‑modeling. The objective of this study was to design a pilot curriculum to foster humanism in
among residents and assess its ability to do so.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two‑phase exploratory sequential mixed methods study. Phase
1: a qualitative analysis of residents’ narratives regarding challenges to humanistic behavior, and
identified themes of compassion, fatigue, communication challenges, and work‑life balance. Themes
used as needs assessment to build curriculum. Phase 2: three sessions with themes taken from
faculty development course. Participants and controls completed baseline and 60‑day follow‑up
questionnaires assessing burnout, compassion, satisfaction, and ability to practice psychological
medicine. Phase one included Obstetrics/Gynecology and internal medicine residents. Phase two
included residents from the above programs, who attended at least 2/3 interactive sessions designed
to address the themes identified above.
RESULTS: Twelve participants began and ten completed curriculum (83%). The curriculum met
course objectives and was well‑received (4.8/5). Burnout decreased (−3.1 vs. 2.5, P = 0.048). A trend
toward improved compassion (4.4 vs.−0.6, P = 0.096) for participants compared to controls was noted.
CONCLUSION: A pilot humanism curriculum for residents was well‑received. Participants showed
decreased burnout and trended to improved compassion scores. Development and evaluation of an
expanded curriculum would further explore feasibility and effectiveness of the intervention.


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