Negotiating Work-Life Integration

Publication ID Published Volume
10623 September 5, 2017 13

Download the Educational Summary Report


Introduction: Integrating work and home domains is a constant challenge for medical professionals. Only half of physicians report positive work-life satisfaction, implying that negotiating the inherent conflicts between work and home may not be intuitive. Early teaching of skills focused on professional sustainability may best prepare physicians to navigate conflicts between work and home domains. Methods: This interactive workshop targets trainees and junior faculty. It aims to highlight the current state of physician career satisfaction, to bring awareness to the risk of physician burnout, and to apply strategies that promote work-life integration as a lifelong practice for sustained career satisfaction. It includes a detailed presentation with structured resources to reinforce skill development. Results: This workshop was delivered five times to trainees and junior faculty. Workshop evaluations (n = 50) revealed that all participants believed the information presented was useful, addressed competencies relevant to their training, and increased their knowledge about how to create better work-life integration; all anticipated improvement in their professional work. They all recommended this program to a colleague. Discussion: This workshop offers an effective way to teach a skill set that enhances physicians’ abilities to negotiate conflicting work and life domain boundaries. Our results indicate that learners intend to apply newly acquired strategies for work-life integration so as to improve career satisfaction and wellness. Such skill sets may mitigate physician burnout and promote career sustainability, both critical issues with far-reaching implications for the delivery of safe, high-quality health care at the provider and system levels.


Pitre C, Ladd L, Welch J. Negotiating work-life integration. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2017;13:10623.

Educational Objectives

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the impact of work-life satisfaction on a career in medicine, including career sustainability and physician burnout.
  2. Discuss the central importance of aligning personal values and prioritized goals in work-life integration.
  3. Apply methods to negotiate boundaries around work and life domains.
  4. Compare strategies for improving work-life integration.
  5. Recognize the value of communicating goals within a personal network.
  6. Conceptualize work-life integration as a lifelong practice rather than a goal.


  • Well-Being, Mentoring, Resident Education, Faculty Development, Professional Sustainability, Career Satisfaction, Work-Life Integration


  1. Kossek EE, Lautsch BA. Work–family boundary management styles in organizations: a cross-level model. Organ Psychol Rev. 2012;2(2):152-171.

  2. Shanafelt TD, Boone S, Tan L, et al. Burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance among US physicians relative to the general US population. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(18):1377-1385.

  3. Dyrbye LN, Varkey P, Boone SL, Satele DV, Sloan JA, Shanafelt TD. Physician satisfaction and burnout at different career stages. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013;88(12):1358-1367.

  4. Leigh JP, Tancredi DJ, Kravitz RL. Physician career satisfaction within specialties. BMC Health Serv Res. 2009;9:166.

  5. Wallace JE, Lemaire JB, Ghali WA. Physician wellness: a missing quality indicator. Lancet. 2009;374(9702):1714-1721.

  6. Dyrbye LN, Massie FS, Eacker A, et al. Relationship between burnout and professional conduct and attitudes among US medical students. JAMA. 2010;304(11):1173-1180.

  7. Shanafelt TD, Balch CM, Bechamps G, et al. Burnout and medical errors among American surgeons. Ann Surg. 2010;251(6):995-1000.

  8. Shanafelt T, Sloan J, Satele D, Balch C. Why do surgeons consider leaving practice? J Am Coll Surg. 2011;212(3):421-422.

  9. Balch CM, Shanafelt TD, Sloan JA, Satele DV, Freischlag JA. Distress and career satisfaction among 14 surgical specialties, comparing academic and private practice settings. Ann Surg. 2011;254(4):558-568.

  10. Shanafelt TD, Sloan JA, Habermann TM. The well-being of physicians. Am J Med. 2003;114(6):513-519.

  11. Oreskovich MR, Kaups KL, Balch CM, et al. Prevalence of alcohol use disorders among American surgeons. Arch Surg. 2012;147(2):168-174.

  12. Shanafelt TD, Balch CM, Dyrbye LN, et al. Special report: suicidal ideation among American surgeons. Arch Surg. 2011;146(1):54-62.

  13. Lefebvre DC. Perspective: resident physician wellness: a new hope. Acad Med. 2012;87(5):598-602.

  14. Raj KS. Well-being in residency: a systematic review. J Grad Med Educ. 2016;8(5):674-684.

  15. Drolet BC, Rodgers S. A comprehensive medical student wellness program—design and implementation at Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Acad Med. 2010;85(1):103-110.

  16. Puddester D, Flynn L, Cohen J, eds. CanMEDS Physician Health Guide: A Practical Handbook for Physician Health and Well-Being. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; 2009.

  17. Okanlawon T. Physician wellness: preventing resident and fellow burnout. AMA STEPS Forward website. Published October 2015. Accessed March 8, 2017.

  18. Welch JL. Fundamentals of mentoring: three steps to a mentee-driven relationship. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2016;12:10441.

Material Access

Please sign in to access this material.

Please register for an AAMC account if you do not have one.


  • Contact Us

ISSN 2374-8265