Provide residents with a forum to express themselves

Residency Program Insider, December 16, 2016

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Residency Program Insider!

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Graduate Medical Education Office Handbook. For more information about this book, click here.

All sponsoring institutions must guarantee their residents and fellows the opportunity or platform to “communicate and exchange” information among themselves about their learning and working environment. One way to accomplish this is through a house officers’ association/organization. It is important for administration to recognize the validity and importance of such an association.

At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the House Officers’ Association consists of a president, vice president, and treasurer. All officers are peer selected into their leadership positions, and they remain in office until they graduate or decide to step down. It is critical to maintain continuity in this organization and to have trainees leading it that are engaged and will actually do something. Our GME office meets with these officers at least quarterly, and the House Officers’ Association president sits on our GMEC, as well as the executive committee of our major affiliate. Our House Officers’ Association members sign up for a $2-per-month deduction from their paycheck to support the organization. Back in 1976, when the organization was started, this was a way for them to fund the projects and social gatherings they sponsored. This practice has continued today, and the dues have never increased. No resident or fellow has to commit to the payroll deduction to belong to our House Officers’ Association; everyone is automatically a member once they commence training.

The House Officers’ Association president stays in contact via email with all the trainees in our institution. She frequently encourages anyone to raise issues of concern about the work environment or any aspect of their training program they feel should be vetted by the House Officers’ Association. Often times, the complaints or concerns are about wanting more call money, better parking, a workout room in the hospital, etc. As mentioned previously, our House Officers’ Association gives a monthly update to the GMEC about the organization and any concerns they may have. We feel we have an excellent working relationship with that organization and help facilitate as many of their events as we can. They even provide a scholarship each year to a deserving medical student, using some of their membership dues to fund it. We give our House Officers’ Association president an extra stipend of $100/month and free parking. The vice president and secretary/treasurer also receive free parking.

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Residency Program Insider!