The Wellness Connection is a place where physician peers are available to support each other. The site hosts live virtual group support sessions led by trained facilitators. There are a variety of session formats offered throughout the week, including formal peer support sessions and group drop-ins, which cover a range of topics, such as compassion rounds and psychological first aid. The Wellness Connection also hosts a safe space where physicians and medical learners can share gratitude stories, and it provides access to a range of formal and informal peer support education and resources.
There are a variety of weekly group sessions available below that address a range of topics, including critical needs and emerging strategies to support physicians and learners during the pandemic and beyond. Group sessions are offered in different formats/approaches and are delivered by facilitators who have received formal training. The session formats include peer support, group drop-in sessions, compassion rounds and psychological first aid.
For more information please read the session descriptions below.
Formal peer support group sessions: Formal peer support group sessions will be facilitated by a physician trained in formal peer support. They will involve discussions about the individual and occupational factors affecting physician health and wellness (e.g., physical activity, diet, work—life integration, collegiality, efficiency), as well as dialogue around critical needs and emerging strategies to support physicians, residents and medical students during the pandemic and beyond. The specific topics will vary from session to session, as they will emerge organically from the needs and interests expressed by each group. Some examples of potential topics are issues related to increased work hours and workload, personal protective equipment, personal and professional relationships, and/or the adjustment physicians are experiencing with providing virtual care. Group sessions for learners could involve dialogue around challenges learners are facing with the shift to online learning.
Compassion rounds: Compassion Rounds provide a safe space to talk about the heart of your work, to practice self-care and learn new tools. Feel heard through small group sharing, learn mindfulness, resilience and self-compassion and feel uplifted through gratitude practice and guided relaxation exercises. In the teaching segment we cover topics such as work-life balance, family relationships, communication under stress and the physician personality. We then move to sharing in groups of 3 and finish with a gratitude practice and live meditation. Compassion rounds are dynamic, interactive and educational. Emerge stronger, happier, and inspired.
Psychological First Aid: Psychological First Aid sessions will be facilitated by a medical psychotherapist and aim to provide group members with easy-to-use practical techniques to reduce anxiety and psychological distress using a psychological first aid approach that has been adapted for clinical use. The evidence informed tools are based on key elements of psychological first aid, psychotherapeutic techniques including mindfulness, and trauma informed therapy. Participants will practice these stress-relieving tools during the sessions and will also learn how to use the tools and skills with patients, family members and peers.
Group sessions - Responding to COVID-19: These group sessions will be facilitated by a licensed psychologist and will involve supportive discussions with colleagues related to responding to COVID-19. The specific topics will vary from session to session, as they will emerge organically from the needs and interests expressed by each group. Some examples of potential topics are issues related to increased work hours and workload, personal protective equipment, personal and professional relationships, the adjustment physicians are experiencing with providing virtual care, and the closure of walk-in clinics because of reduced patient visits. Group sessions for learners could involve dialogue around the challenges learners are facing with the shift to online learning.
Note that these are not therapy sessions.
To participate in a virtual group support session click here.
We believe that communities are key to realizing a vibrant profession and healthy population. Professionalism, integrity, compassion and community building are our values. Creating a safe space to share stories and experiences is of the utmost importance to us. We encourage the following:
Participants can expect:
We will not stand for:
Click here to view the full CMA Community Engagement Platform Playbook.
Yes, the Wellness Connection is a national program. It can be accessed by any medical student, resident, fellow, practising and/or retired physician in Canada.
Yes. Select virtual group support sessions are offered in both French and English.
Any medical student, resident, fellow, practising and/or retired physician in Canada is eligible to participate in the group support sessions. Please note that you do not have to be a CMA member to participate.
No. Membership in the CMA or a provincial or territorial medical association is not required to use the platform. The Wellness Connection is available to all physicians, medical learners, and retired physicians through the CMA Community Engagement Platform. The site is open access to all members of the public, however, the virtual group sessions are reserved for physicians and learners only.
Yes. We ask that all participants register in advance for the sessions they would like to attend. This ensures that the group sizes are manageable and that we have the appropriate staff in place to support the session.
REGISTERING FOR A SESSION
Once you have registered for a session a zoom link will be sent to you via email. Sessions will be hosted through the Zoom platform.
JOINING A SESSION
The group support sessions will be facilitated by a trained facilitator who has specific expertise in the provision of peer support and meets one or more of the following criteria:
There is no cost to you to create an account and/or participate in the sessions. The service is offered by the CMA to physicians, medical learners and retired physicians in Canada (including both CMA members and non-members).
The size of the group will vary depending on the session’s registration. The maximum group size is 30.
No, there is no limit. You may participate in as many virtual group support sessions as you’d like. However, should you require individual, clinical or longer term care, there are additional resources and programs available through the Wellness Support Line, provincial and territorial physician health programs and/or your provincial or territorial medical association.
Participants cannot access the Wellness Connection anonymously. However, the CMA and the group support session facilitators are committed to honoring participants’ privacy and confidentiality.
Owing to the nature of the group sessions, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. However, we are committed to honouring privacy and confidentiality regarding all issues that come up in the group and ask all participants to do the same so that the group remains a safe place for participants to speak freely. There is no record keeping of attendance or of what was discussed at the meeting and all polls given are anonymous. Identifying information will not be shared with the CMA, the provincial or territorial medical associations or the physician health programs.
You will be asked to complete an evaluation survey after participating in a group support session. Your feedback is important in our efforts to enhance the user experience and to support health and wellness through the Wellness Connection. Participation is voluntary and responses will only be reported in aggregated format to respect anonymity.
The CMA is pleased to financially support the Wellness Connection and the support services it provides.
If you have any technical issues joining the platform or attending a session, please contact the CMA Member Service Centre at 888-855-2555 (toll-free) weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any issues, concerns or questions about the virtual group support sessions and/or your experience, please contact email@example.com.
We encourage you to reach out to the Wellness Support Line and/or your provincial/territorial physician health program if you need personal assistance or are in distress. The Wellness Support Line offers 24/7 counselling and access to mental health supports to physicians, medical learners and their immediate families in both official languages.
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