When physicians are having difficulty managing stress or maintaining well being, speaking with a physician peer coach could provide a number of benefits. Often, communicating with someone who’s been in a similar situation can foster a greater sense of connection and make suggestions more meaningful.
For example, physician peer coaches can address topics such as:
- Unusual levels of stress
- Desire to strengthen leadership skills
- Change in organizational role
- Increased frustration or anger at work
- Challenges in managing administrative tasks
- Communication difficulties with other staff members or administration
- Difficulties of balancing the demands of family and medicine
- Changing healthcare environment
Peer coaches are practicing or retired physicians, giving them the insight into fast-changing healthcare demands. They’ve also been trained in addressing potentially resistant physicians who feel as if they don’t need help—a common attitude among those who are struggling with burnout.
Employing active listening skills as well as empathy, diplomacy and tact, peer coaches are able to provide constructive feedback in a way that will resonate with physicians. Because of this, they can help physicians navigate through challenges such as:
- Dealing effectively with change, particularly during times of organizational or staff transitions
- Finding balance between family responsibilities and professional caregiving, so one isn’t sacrificed in favor of the other
- Establishing better communication styles to foster and improve team morale and care for patients
- Managing schedules and staffing in a patient-centric way to still allow for ample physician refresh and recharge time
Well-trained, empathetic peer coaches are only one part of addressing physician well being. They are a powerful resource for physicians and organizations alike.