VITAL WorkLife Study: Peer Coaching Curbs Physician Stress and Burnout

Posted on January 21, 2021 by VITAL WorkLife

As physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals increasingly struggle, essential methods and programs are available to help them cope and help the healthcare industry better navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.

MINNEAPOLIS — JANUARY 21, 2021 — VITAL WorkLife, a national leader in behavioral health consulting to professionals and organizations in the healthcare industry, today announced it has published the results of a study that establishes and underscores a connection between peer coaching programs and significantly improved physician well being. These findings are the latest in a growing body of research suggesting that peer coaching is an effective tool in curbing physician stress and burnout, as well as the negative consequences for patients, individual practitioners and the healthcare industry as a whole.

VITAL WorkLife conducted its peer coaching study using cases that started in 2019, asking participating physicians to rate their overall well being on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most positive. Participants then received a course of peer coaching, lasting an average of five sessions. Upon completion of the coaching course, participants were asked to rate their overall well being on the same scale, name the aspects of peer coaching they found beneficial and characterize the level of impact peer coaching had on their current well being rating.

In summary, the study found:

  • The peer coaching course improved participating physicians’ well being by 58 percent.
  • When participants were asked which benefits of peer coaching they found most valuable, the top three were:
    • Improved self-awareness – improved relationships inside and outside of practice, greater happiness and improved professional effectiveness.
    • Improved confidence – challenging self-beliefs that may be inaccurate and destructive, and that can lead to feelings of reduced professional ability/impact.
    • Improved validation – talking through emotions that accompany difficult and traumatic situations and curbing emotional exhaustion.

“Physicians can’t take the best care of their patients or help their organization meet quality and performance measures if they’re exhausted, demoralized and burned out, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made these issues worse,” said Mitchell Best, CEO of VITAL WorkLife. “We’re dedicated to finding and implementing ways to reduce stress and burnout, and peer coaching has emerged as a high-focus, high-impact solution that physicians use and value.”

VITAL WorkLife’s study results mirror those from two other recent studies on the impact of peer coaching on physician well being. Both a Mayo Clinic study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2019 and a study published by Duke University in 2014 found peer coaching to be effective in supporting the mental health of physicians.

Physician well being is under assault like never before, with profound implications for healthcare organizations. As such, initiatives to support physician well being are critical.

Download the VITAL WorkLife white paper, Peer Coaching Impacts on Physician Well Being, by clicking the button below.

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About VITAL WorkLife

Our passion is helping organizations, teams and individuals to be their best.

VITAL WorkLife, Inc. is a physician-focused national behavioral health consulting practice supporting all dimensions of well being in the workplace with a multitude of solutions. Serving the U.S. healthcare industry since 2007, our national team of certified physician peer coaches and senior behavioral health consultants deliver life-changing well being solutions. For more information, visit VITALWorkLife.com. 

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