Resident Wellness

Northeast Georgia Medical Center is committed to the mental and physical health and wellness of all our residents, physicians and staff.

The Importance of Resident Wellness

Residency can be an inherently stressful time in the career of a physician, and the well-being of our resident physicians is something we take very seriously at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Declines in physician well-being are linked to lower quality patient care and patient satisfaction, increased errors, and decreased health system performance. Our goal is to ensure that our residents are equipped with the tools and resources that enable them to be their best so they can provide the highest quality care for our patients.

“In the current healthcare environment, residents and faculty members are at increased risk for burnout and depression.  Psychological, emotional, and physical well-being are critical in the development of the competent, caring, and resilient physician.  Self-care is an important component of professionalism; it is also a skill that must be learned and nurtured in the context of other aspects of residency training.  Programs….have the same responsibility to address well-being as they do to evaluate other aspects of resident competence.”

- ACGME Common Program Requirements, Section VI

Program Overview

Northeast Georgia Health System prides itself on four core values, all of which help us achieve our mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. These values shape the daily interactions between our physicians and residents, faculty, staff, volunteers, board members, patients, and their loved ones.

Our Core Values are also embedded in how we prioritize the overall well-being of our residents. Each component of our wellness curriculum and programming is directly influenced by one or more of the Core Values.

Learn more about NGHS' Core Values

Resident Wellness | NGMC GME

Resident Assistance Program (RAP)

The Resident Assistance Program (RAP) is a free counseling and mental health support service offered in partnership with the NGHS Employee Assistance Program. Designed to address the unique challenges and stressors commonly experienced by residents, the RAP strives to support personal and professional wellbeing through confidential, solution-focused services.

Residents are automatically enrolled in the RAP upon their arrival to NGMC.  Participation in the RAP consists of two wellbeing check-in visits per year with a RAP psychologist or counselor. Residents may opt out of the RAP at any time.

Residents may also self-refer to any individual RAP services including traditional counseling, professional coaching, or other consultation to determine appropriate interventions based on their needs. Those needing more specialized treatment may be referred to a community provider through their insurance.

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Website

Self-Screening Tools

The following screening tools may be used to explore possible mental health risks but should not be used as a substitute for professional assessment or treatment. If you would like to discuss your results with a mental health professional, please schedule an appointment with the Resident Assistance Program or contact the Director of GME Wellness.

Cornerstones of Resident Education (CORE) is a didactic series in which residents engage in meaningful activities and discussions on an array of wellbeing-related topics. The evidence-based wellness curriculum is carefully curated to provide relevant and useable information, tools, and experiences to our residents.

Topics include:

  • Sleep & Fatigue
  • Mental Health Risks
  • Stress Management
  • War Stories Physician Panel Discussion
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • And more

The House Staff Organization (HSO) is a resident-led reporting and information-sharing structure with the mission of improving communication and cooperation amongst residents at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. It provides a forum for discussion, advocacy, and idea-sharing on matters pertaining to Graduate Medical Education. 

II.C. Resident/Fellow Forum: The Sponsoring Institution with more than one program must ensure availability of an organization, council, town hall, or other platform that allows all residents/fellows from within and across the Sponsoring Institution’s ACGME-accredited programs to communicate and exchange information with other residents/fellows relevant to their ACGME-accredited programs and their learning and working environment. 

II.C.1. Any resident/fellow from one of the Sponsoring Institution’s ACGME accredited programs must have the opportunity to directly raise a concern to the forum.

II.C.2. Residents/fellows must have the option, at least in part, to conduct their forum without the DIO, faculty members, or other administrators present.

II.C.3. Residents/fellows must have the option to present concerns that arise from discussions at the forum to the DIO and GMEC.

Currently, town hall-style HSO meetings occur quarterly and all NGMC residents are encouraged to attend.  The Director of GME Wellness or other designated GME administrator may attend a portion of HSO meetings in order to gain visibility to relevant matters or to provide administrative support.  Residents are guaranteed to have at least one quarterly HSO meeting free from institutional leadership per academic year.

House Staff Organization (HSO) Executive Council

The HSO Executive Council is a group of peer-elected Program Delegates who represent the interests of all residents of NGMC GME. This group is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the HSO and is expected to hold regular Council meetings in addition to quarterly HSO town hall-style meetings. The HSO Executive Council will communicate frequently with GME Administrators on a variety of matters relating to residents’ work and learning at NGMC GME.

HSO Executive Council Delegates, 2021-2022:

Some of the best parts of residency are the sense of community and the opportunity to build personal and professional bonds that can last a lifetime.  Healthy interpersonal relationships and a strong support system are significant contributors to overall wellbeing, so at NGMC GME we seek to facilitate social connections between residents, faculty, staff, and their families through regular social events, support groups, and other programming.

Annual and past events include:

  • GME Welcome Picnic
  • Bowling and Laser Tag
  • NGMC Strikers Soccer Team
  • Top Golf
  • GME Awards Banquet
  • Holiday Socials

Resident Fuel Gauge

The Resident Fuel Gauge is a two-item instrument delivered to residents bi-weekly that allows them to rank their overall “fuel levels” around their physical, mental, and emotional health.  Monitored solely by the Director of GME Wellness, this confidential feedback method allows for early identification and intervention for individuals who may be struggling and gives visibility to wellbeing trends among programs. Current participation in the Resident Fuel Gauge is over 80%.

Sleep and Fatigue Support

Sleep deprivation and fatigue are among some of the most difficult issues encountered in residency. In addition to its impact on personal wellbeing, unmanaged fatigue can impact one’s ability to safely care for patients. Check out our guide on How to Recognize Sleep Deprivation and Fatigue.

In addition to comfortable call rooms, NGMC GME also offers one-way taxi or rideshare reimbursement for any resident experiencing fatigue that impacts their ability to drive home safely.

Fitness Equipment and Discounted Gym Memberships

A treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, and other fitness equipment can be found in our first-floor resident lounge. Residents are also eligible for discounted memberships at several local gyms and fitness centers.

Lactation Room

Our lactation room for nursing parents is located within the ground floor resident lounge. This private space is equipped with a mini-fridge and plenty of electrical outlets for pumping and storage.

Therapy Dog

Meet Gili!  Gili is a Mini Goldendoodle and a beloved member of the NGHS Employee Assistance Program team, devoted solely to supporting the employees of NGHS.  She is a certified therapy dog and makes regular visits to the residents at CORE sessions to provide a few moments of stress relief.

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Holly Stewart

Holly Stewart, MS
Director, GME Wellness

Holly holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Georgia. Her professional and research interests include mentoring, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and systems-level change to improve clinician burnout and distress. She has many years of experience working in advocacy and support roles with healthcare students and trainees, and is passionate about helping residents thrive in their professional and personal lives.


Mac Hafele

Mac Hafele, PhD
Neuropsychologist, NGHS Employee Assistance Program

Dr. Hafele is a licensed psychologist and is experienced in providing counseling services to medical students and hospital faculty, staff, and residents. Prior to arriving at NGHS, Dr. Hafele was employed with Emory University and Emory Healthcare’s Faculty Staff Assistance Program. She is a former U.S. Marine, is board certified as a Traumatic Stress Expert, and is an Advanced Conflict Mediator.