Skip to main content

Health and Wellness

 

Residency is an extremely exciting time of life.  It's your opportunity to apply the knowledge you have acquired in medical school and develop the skills you will need for practice. However, it can also be a time of stress. The possible causes of stress are multiple. They include personal and family issues, long hours, illness, sleep deprivation, exam stress, career uncertainty, reduced contact and support from family, friends, and partners, anxieties related to professional competency, worries about patients, issues related to job search and beyond.

I encourage you to approach your program director, faculty advisor, the Director of Resident Wellness, or me at the first sign of any difficulty so that we can help you access whatever assistance you feel might be helpful or make adjustments to your program to improve your situation. Our experience demonstrates that early intervention often remedies problems quickly and allows the resident to complete the program successfully and on time. It becomes more difficult if burnout or depression sets in, so please do not hesitate to use the resources we have to offer for you. We are very sensitive to the issue of resident stress and will facilitate interventions or program modification that will reduce pressures faced by residents. Please contact me directly at karen.schultz@queensu.ca if you have questions or concerns or if you wish to set a meeting to discuss them.

If you are a resident and would like to provide me with anonymous feedback, then you should login to Elentra. A feedback form is available and you should check the box indicating that you would prefer not to disclose your identity.

Karen (Pinky) Schultz, BSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP
Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education

 

The Postgraduate Wellness Office is a valuable resource for residents and clinical fellows.  It provides a variety of services for learners including:

  • Help with the transition from undergraduate medical student to postgraduate resident.
  • Support, counselling and referrals for postgraduate residents in difficulty.  Support is provided on all aspects of the resident experience including issues relating to personal, career, financial, and academic matters.
  • Support for International Medical Graduates and referrals to existing University programs of interest to the international community.
  • Informing residents about their rights in academic matters.

 

Although the majority of residents cope well during training, a significant number struggle in areas of physician health and wellness.  Key stressors include:

 

  • finances
  • career choice; competitive environment
  • demanding schedules
  • exam pressure
  • personal relationships
  • surrounded by suffering and death
  • sleep deprivation
  • sense of little control over training, hours
  • high level of responsibility
  • focus on errors and poor outcomes

 

The Office is overseen by Dr. Melissa Andrew, Director, Resident Wellness.  She is pleased to meet with learners, either virtually or in person, regarding any difficulties that are encountered during residency.   

When residents based in Kingston do rotations outside of Kingston, they will primarily access resources based in Kingston by directly contacting Dr. Andrew.  For residents who are geographically removed from Kingston for long or continuous rotations, Regional Learner Advocates (RLAs) are available in each community outside of Kingston where there is a satellite residency program, or a dedicated clinical teaching unit with continuous learners.

The Wellness Office is located inside of the PGME Office at 70 Barrie Street.  To book an appointment with Dr. Andrew, contact her at postgradwellness@queensu.ca or by phone at (613) 533-2543.

 

Dr. Melissa Andrew is the Director, Resident Wellness, and has provided support and guidance to postgraduate learners since 2007.  She is a Geriatric Psychiatrist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Queen's University.  Dr. Andrew is an award-winning clinician who was recognized in 2021 with a CAME Certificate of Merit Award for her dedication and commitment to medical education.

 

The School of Medicine has a dedicated counsellor, Anna Paolucci, through a service provided by the School of Medicine and Queen’s Student Wellness Services (SWS).  These services are provided at arm’s length from the School of Medicine for the purposes of maintaining anonymity and confidentiality. 

Therapy / counselling is available free of charge.  Additionally, sessions are also available virtually or via phone for those who are unable to attend sessions in person. One initial face-to -face session is often preferable prior to scheduling these alternatives. For those who may prefer a self-help approach, the following self-help workbooks are free and accessible online.

To contact Anna Paolucci directly, please email her at ap161@queensu.ca.

For more information about any of the programs or services offered by the Counselling Service, please call (613) 533-6000 ext. 78264. You may also call (613) 533-2506, press (1), then (1). The Counselling Service is located on the ground floor of Mitchell Hall, 69 Union Street.  The Counselling Service can also be reached by email at counselling.services@queensu.ca.

Residents who are geographically removed from Kingston for long or continuous rotations may use the services of Regional Learner Advocates (RLAs).  They are available in each community outside of Kingston where there is a satellite residency program, or a dedicated clinical teaching unit with continuous learners.

Regional Learner Advocates act as the local, identifiable representative for Queen's School of Medicine residents and students.  They communicate directly with the Postgraduate Wellness Office regarding any learner whenever there are significant concerns of unprofessional behaviour, academic difficulty, or illness or concerns that may impact on the learner's performance or education.

It is the role of the RLA to:            

  • Provide or arrange support for learners in aspects of their learning experience, including personal health, career, financial and academic matters.
  • Ensure that any support provided will be provided in a discrete and confidential manner. The learner will be encouraged to discuss issues with their Program Director.
  • Facilitate referral for learners who seek personal health care and counselling. 
  • Act as a local advocate for learners to mediate conflicts between learners and staff (teaching, hospital), and concerns of professional behaviour that have been raised by/about learners.

View the list of Regional Learner Advocates

 Name Reason to Contact Contact Information

Dr. Karen Schultz,
Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education

  • Academic Difficulty
  • Academic Appeals
  • Intimidation and Harassment
 karen.schultz@queensu.ca

To provide Dr. Schultz with anonymous feedback, please log into Elentra and follow the feedback link.

(613) 533-2543

Dr. Melissa Andrew
Director of Resident Wellness

  • Personal Difficulties
  • Career Advice
  • Academic Difficulty
  • Accommodations and Return to Work
  • Intimidation and Harassment
  • Sexual Violence
postgradwellness@queensu.ca

(613) 533-6000 x32543

Anna Paolucci

Counsellor for Medical Learners, Queen's Student Health Services

  • Confidential Personal Counselling
  • Intimidation and Harassment
  • Sexual Violence
 counselling.services@queensu.ca

(613) 533-6000 x78264

Jordan Sinnett
Program Manager, Postgraduate Medical Education

  • Transfer Process
  • Intimidation and Harassment
jordan.sinnett@queensu.ca

(613) 533-2543

Queen's/KHSC Resources  
Director of Resident Wellness The Director of Resident Wellness provides assistance and support to residents in difficulty.
Regional Learner Advocates RLAs are local, identifiable representatives in Belleville, Oshawa, and Peterborough who provide support to Queen's residents in those communities.
Student Wellness Services SWS provides short-term counselling geared to resolving personal difficulties, dealing with crises and distressing situations.  They also work with partners in the Kingston community to assist students who need specialized mental health services or longer-term counselling support.  The office also provides a series of online workbooks for anxiety, mood, and practicing self-care and compassion.
School of Medicine Counsellor Residents have access to a new counselling service provided by the School of Medicine and Queen’s Student Wellness Services (SWS).  Anna Paolucci is the designated counsellor for the School of Medicine and she meets with students and residents who are experiencing feelings of stress and pressure in their daily lives.
Postgraduate Policies For detailed information on a wide variety of topics, please refer to specific postgraduate policies.
Queen's Student Affairs Health and Wellness Student Affairs is focused on raising awareness of mental health issues and currently has a broad range of initiatives designed to help students, faculty and staff support those experiencing mental health problems.
KHSC Employee and Family Assistance Program KHSC residents have full access to a wide range of confidential services through Homewood Human Solutions.  Visit their website or visit KHSC Occupational Health, Safety, and Wellness to find out more, or call Homewood Human Solutions at 1-800-663-1142
Queen's Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Service is part of the Human Rights and Equity Office, an independent department on campus located in Mackintosh Corry Hall. SVPRS is the point on contact on campus for students impacted by sexual violence and for prevention initiatives. 
TAO - Therapy Assistance Online TAO is an online, mobile friendly library of engaging, interactive pathways that promote wellness and can help you bounce back from challenging times.
  • Self-directed pathways are based on scientific research and have been found to be helpful to students who are motivated to maximize the way they think and feel
  • You can complete TAO pathways at your own pace, wherever you are, and when you want
  • TAO can also be incorporated into your mental health appointments
  • Many different pathways are available. If you need help deciding which ones are best for you, the platform offers you a self-assessment tool that can help tailor an intervention designed to meet your needs
   
Financial Resources  
Resolve Credit and Financial Counselling Services Resolve Credit & Financial Counselling Services is a community-based non-profit credit counselling service. We are an accredited member of the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services (OACCS) and the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS). We are also a registered Canadian charity and a member agency of the United Way.
KHSC Employee and Family Assistance Program Professional and confidential counselling for personal, family or work-related problems is available for residents. Visit Homewood Health website or call 1-800-663-1142 to make an appointment with a counsellor or to speak immediately with a counsellor if you are in crisis. KHSC residents have full access to a wide range of confidential services through Homewood Human Solutions.  Log into the KHSC intranet for further information.
PARO PARO maintains a financial planner on their website for residents.
MD Financial Management MD offers financial and wealth strategies designed exclusively for Canada's physicians and their families.  MD provides services such as financial planning, insurance, and incorporation advice.
Chartered Banks Most Canadian chartered banks offer financial planning services to their customers free of charge.  Contact your bank today to learn more about its services and to create a financial plan.
   
Community Resources  
Addiction & Mental Health Services KFL&A (AMHS-KFLA) AMHS-KFLA is a non-profit corporation providing a continuum of services to those with mental health and/or addiction issues in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington area.
Telephone Aid Line Kingston (TALK) TALK is a phone line dedicated to serving the Kingston Community and beyond.  They offer a completely confidential, non-judgmental, and anonymous listening service.
Sexual Assault Centre Kingston The Sexual Assault Centre Kingston provides free, confidential, non-judgmental support to survivors of sexualized violence, offers public education on issues of sexualized violence and strives toward the prevention of all forms of sexualized violence.
TEND Academy Organizational & personal strategies that can be used to reduce the negative consequences of high stress and high trauma work environments.
   
Provincial Resources  
OMA Physician Health Program The PHP serves the needs of physicians suffering from substance use disorders, and/or psychiatric disorders through prompt intervention, referral to treatment, monitoring and advocacy.
PARO Help Line The PARO 24 Hour Helpline is available to residents, their partners and family members, as well as medical students.  It provides immediate assistance in emergency or urgent matters, also also referrals for a wide range of issues.
   
National Resources  
CMA Physician Health A collection of news, online information, and other resources relating to physicians health maintained by the Canadian Medical Association.
ePhysicianHealth.com A comprehensive, online physician health and wellness resource designed to help physicians and physicians in training to be resilient in their professional and personal lives.
Resident Doctors of Canada Wellbeing Library The E-Library is a comprehensive repository of documents about resident issues, and about Resident Doctors of Canada (formerly the Canadian Association of Interns and Residents - CAIR).
 
Who should I contact regarding a transfer to another residency program?

For career advice, contact Dr. Melissa Andrew, Director of Resident Affairs.

To begin the transfer process, contact Ms. Jordan Sinnett, Postgraduate Program Manager.

For further information, refer to the Postgraduate Transfer Policy.


What kinds of leaves of absence are there?  How to I arrange a leave?

There are many kinds of leaves including sick days, short term disability, long term disability, compassionate leave, bereavement leave, and a leave of absence.  Full details are provided in the Leaves of Absence Policy.

A request for a leave of absence must be submitted in writing to the Program Director.  Additional questions about the kinds of leaves and the process to request one may be directed to Dr. Melissa Andrew, Director of Resident Affairs, or Ms. Jordan Sinnett, Postgraduate Program Manager.


What do I do if I am experiencing intimidation or harassment at work?

Contact Dr. Karen Schultz, Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education or Dr. Melissa Andrew, Director of Resident Affairs.

A Resident Intimidation and Harassment Policy is posted on our policies page and is listed under 'Harassment'.


What do I do if I am experiencing sexual violence?

Contact Dr. Karen Schultz, Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education or Dr. Melissa Andrew, Director of Resident Affairs.

Resources include:

 


Where do I find further information about resident health and safety?

Full information can be found in the Resident Health and Safety Policy.


I am a resident in Belleville, Oshawa, or Peterborough.  Who can I contact for assistance?

All residents, regardless of their location, are welcome to contact Dr. Melissa Andrew whenever they find themselves in difficulty.  Residents may also contact our Regional Learner Advocates, available in each community outside of Kingston where there is a satellite residency program, or a dedicated clinical teaching unit with continuous learners.


Where are the offices of Dr. Schultz and Dr. Andrew located?

Dr. Karen Schultz's office is located in the Postgraduate Medical Eduction Office at 70 Barrie Street.  

Dr. Melissa Andrew's office is also located in the PGME Office at 70 Barrie Street. Appointments are usually available on Wednesdays. To book an appointment with Dr. Andrew, you can contact her at postgradwellness@queensu.ca or by phone at (613) 533-2543.