Have you ever wondered how your physician feels? Most patients go to a doctor for help, but have you ever thought about how your physician is doing? A growing body of research shows that physician burnout and depression can be linked to medical errors and to a type of depersonalized care that is often both less effective and less satisfying for both patient and physician. Here’s why you should consider your physician’s wellbeing, in the article Taking Care of the Physician.
There is increasing conversation about “physician wellness” these days as we look at the toll of medical training and at the physical, emotional and spiritual impact on those who are extensively trained to take care of others. Researchers use the Maslach Burnout Inventory to measure emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, feelings of competence, and a sense of achievement in one’s work. It has been determined that physicians, as a group, do relatively well when it comes to a sense of personal accomplishment, but often lean toward emotional exhaustion and a sense of depersonalization which may result in a cynical and dehumanized attitude toward patients.
Doctor’s dedicate their lives to helping others feel better, but at the same time, they are not trained to focus on their own mental or physical health.
This matters because there is a recognized link between physician burnout, medical errors, and physician suicide. In fact, physicians are at approximately twice the relative risk of suicide compared to people in other professions and women physicians are in the highest risk group. This topic has garnered national attention because so many doctors struggle with physician burnout. “If you’re my physician,” Dr. McClafferty said, “I want you to be in good shape mentally, physically and emotionally, so you can be really successful at helping me.” To learn more about the importance of physician well-being, read the full New York Times article here.
Few physicians receive training in wellbeing or stress management tools in training. Educational retreats help break through the stigma associated with this topic, emphasize commitment to employees’ well-being, and reinforce acquisition of important new skills. Contact me here to learn more about my educational retreats for you and your team.