Today’s physicians are under profound stress. It’s more than the normal stress of dealing with disease, injury and disability; it’s compounded by many factors including understaffing, overwork, the demands of electronic record-keeping, aging patients with complex conditions, shifting sets of public-health challenges and much more. Nearly every physician on the front line is affected by these stressors and sees their effect on colleagues which can range from irritability to burnout, depression to substance abuse. Many want to do something about the situation. But what can they do?
Executive coach and burnout/well-being expert Mary Wolf has an answer: they can become advocates of physician well being.
In a detailed article, Wolf outlines the ways any physician can begin to advocate for an accessible, effective, robust well-being program in their organization. One that offers peer counseling, therapy and other support offerings while ensuring confidentiality. She lays out a path from awareness of the problem to concrete action, including whom to contact if you have concerns about stress, morale and possible burnout; who in the organization are in the best position to make a well-being program happen; how to make the best possible arguments for such a program to leadership; how to join with other concerned physicians and with the HR professionals who deal with employee crises daily to make your case; and much more.
“Advocating for a well-being program isn’t an easy task and not everyone is in a position to be an effective advocate in the short term. But understanding how to approach leadership and how to argue for a program can increase your chances of success,” she writes.
Wolf’s clear, actionable article is available here.