Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER)  made recommendations by a high-powered committee, formed by PGI in January, suggesting measures to reduce stress among resident doctors of the institute. The committee was also asked to form guidelines and material for “counseling” the resident doctors for an “effective communication”.

Dr. Amod Gupta, professor emeritus and former dean of PGI, also the chairman of the committee, told  that the committee submitted the report recently to the PGI administration.

Among the recommendations, the committee has suggested that a “buddy system” for the residents and an induction course for the newly joined doctors for a period of 7-10 days be started at the institute. “We have also said that the new resident doctors shouldn’t be deputed for the first month (after joining) in the institute’s emergency that appears to be the war zone of the hospital. Initially, the resident doctors should only be observing the system,” he stated.

Gupta further said that the junior resident (JR) doctors come from a “protective environment” and it is important for them to understand the system first. “We have recommended that JRs should be tagged with the senior resident doctors preferably from their own state so that they (JRs) quickly absorb the system because they come from a place where there are a different language and culture,” he said.

PGI’s Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) has been saying that resident doctors are “overburdened and stressed because of the workload”. Recently, a 24-year-old junior resident doctor Krishna Prasath R died by committing suicide at his hostel room. The family of the doctor had said that their son was “stressed and worried about not being able to communicate with the patients”.

An online email survey, conducted by PGIMER last year at the institute to evaluate various psychological problems (depression, perceived stress, and burnout) among medical professionals working, has also suggested that a significantly higher proportion of doctors undergo stress, sadness, and burnout. “The presence of stress, depression, and burnout is associated with long working hours and negative patient-related outcomes, adverse doctor-patient interactions and interpersonal interactions among the colleagues,” said the report.

The committee has now recommended that a language course is provided for the junior resident doctors at the time of their joining.

To deal with the workload among doctors, Dr. Gupta said the committee has suggested that PGI should explore on how to improve manpower at the institute.

A senior PGI doctor, who was also part of the committee, said the report has recommended screening of movies at Bhargava Auditorium on regular basis to reduce stress among doctors. “The departments, at their own level, can organise exercises, including going on picnic, informal discussions and get-togethers to deal with this problem (stress),” he stated, adding that the main focus in the report has been on “regular communication, including the informal sessions among doctors at the institute”.

The senior doctor further stated that the committee has also asked PGI that the help of institutes like Panjab University be sought to prepare the course structure for better communication between the resident doctors and patients.

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