Physician Burnout: How and Why Doctors Should Take Care of Themselves

“Taking care of ME in medicine is taking care of YOU”

Dr. Williams is the Medical Director and Founder of Healing Wings International, a wellness practice in the US. Her compassion has earned her a reputation as “a doctor with a difference”.

Physician burnout is the leading cause for suicide among doctors but it’s rarely given any attention. It is characterized by the lack of motivation, lack of empathy, frustration and depression. Therefore, self care becomes vital for healthcare professionals not only so they can avoid burnout, but also so they can help their patients better.

The first step for health care practitioners to take is to remember who they are and their likes and dislikes. This helps reduce feelings of detachment and reconnect with themselves. It is important for physicians to remember why they started practicing medicine in the first place especially during times when they are faced with symptoms of burnout. This helps them avoid burnout and move past tough times.

“If you know your why, then the how and what manifests itself”

Once the first two things are established, it is important for physicians to define their own success and build their own community. Having a community helps keep one accountable. They help the person accomplish the goals they set out to accomplish while also being mindful of their health.

Healthcare professionals often work overtime, sacrificing their sleep and well-being. This can have long lasting effects on their physical and mental health. In such situations, remembering to get enough sleep and engaging in activities that spark joy is crucial.

“Taking time to rest, decompress and disconnect is vital to my mental health and is vital to taking care of the ME in medicine”

Lastly, Dr Williams discusses how it’s important to create memorials or keep things around that act as reminders of moments that spark joy or feed one’s soul.

If you can identify with this story, please share it with others who care for someone and help them share too. The feeling of understanding, not being alone and access to support is what keeps caregivers going.  

As a healthcare professional, sharing your opinion helps reflect and influence the healthcare system at large. You can help bring back care into healthcare for the patients, fellow professionals and the family caregivers. Our experiences and hopes can benefit others – to know that the challenges are the same, learn new ways to cope and care… they aren’t alone but part of a team.

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Source: TED Talks

This You Tube video has been curated by Caregiver Saathi. All Rights are Reserved with the original publisher and creators

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