DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.604 ISSN:

935 “…And How Are You?” – a Call for Routine Wellbeing Checks in Educational Supervisor Meetings

R Brown
  • Surgery



The rates of burnout, stress, anxiety, and suicide amongst doctors are increasing. Trainees may not recognise their wellbeing deteriorating or seek support, particularly when they are conditioned to “cope” with extreme experiences. Mental health charities advocate colleagues #starttheconversation to help in destigmatise perceptions of mental health and give those who may not otherwise seek support an opportunity to talk. However, without experience or expertise, this can be daunting.

Surgical trainees are mandated to meet their educational supervisor (ES) six times per year. This is an ideal opportunity for trainers to enquire about their trainee’s wellbeing. However, meetings do not mandate any wellbeing discussion and it is unclear how equipped trainers are to have these discussions. This study investigated wellbeing checks within training.


Two 24-hour cross-sectional polls were conducted via social media asking UK trainees “During your ES meetings, are you routinely asked about your #wellbeing?” and asking trainers “Have you received any formal training in discussing #wellbeing and #mentalhealth with your trainees?”.


Over 24 hours, 222 trainees voted, with 63.1% not routinely asked about their wellbeing during meetings. 87 trainers voted, with 76.3% without any formal training in discussing wellbeing and mental health with trainees.


This limited snapshot poll demonstrates that trainee wellbeing is not routinely being checked and that supervisors are variably trained to undertake these discussions. Wellbeing checks should become a standard part of every ES meeting and formal training in discussing well-being should be undertaken to instil confidence. Provisions for checking consultant wellbeing also require investigation.

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