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Journaling for Non-journalers

Journaling for Non-journalers

Medical school and practice are times of tremendous rewards and stresses which often can lead to burnout and even depression. Resilience is the ability to remain positive despite adversity and it can be both learned and nurtured. Social support and reflection are important in resilience and we try to foster these in the reflective writing sessions. Other specific factors that promote resilience include finding meaning in your work, engaging in recreation, and maintaining a positive outlook.

Many third year students struggle to find their role. Furthermore, faced with a very sick internal medicine patient population staying positive can be a challenge. The following are a few quick suggestions that may help remind you how blessed you are, that you do make a difference, and perhaps remind you to take care of yourself. *

1. Gratitude journal

Try to write down one thing you are grateful for every day. (If you are more visual, you could create a pictorial journal, sort of like pinterest.)

Submission criteria

You can submit the journal or a brief reflection on whether you think this changed your outlook.

Evaluation criteria

Written feedback is at the discretion of the portfolio advisor. The journal itself is not graded.

2. Making a difference journal

Try to write down one thing you did each day that made a difference to someone.

Submission criteria

You can submit the journal or a brief reflection on whether you think this changed your outlook.

Evaluation criteria

Written feedback is at the discretion of the portfolio advisor. The journal itself is not graded.

3. Wellness journal

Pick one area of personal wellness you want to focus on this clerkship (physical, emotional, spiritual), devise a plan, and track your progress. If this goes well, there won’t be much to write but on days you have trouble, take a moment to jot down what you thought got in the way, you may find a pattern that will help you with work-life balance in the future.

Submission criteria

Frequency of entries is at your discretion. Submit a brief (few sentences is fine) reflection on whether you did or did not succeed and why.

Evaluation criteria

Written feedback is at the discretion of the portfolio advisor. The journal itself is not graded.

 *These suggestions were informed by medical education literature that is nicely summarized in a commentary by Dyrbye and Shanafelt in Medical Education 2012; 46:343-348.