The Well Being Advocate: A Special Kind of Colleague—Part 2

Posted on October 23, 2019 by Kay Roberts, MA

The need for organizations to promote and support the well being of their physicians and advanced practitioners is being acknowledged across the healthcare industry today. But do you know who to go to for well being support within your organization?

VWL-19-001_WellBeingAdvocates_BlogGraphic2One of the most powerful ways to establish and sustain a culture of physician well being is to appoint one or more Well Being Advocates: influential members within your organization who agree to help promote well being person-to-person. This means: to be on the lookout for signs of stress and burnout among colleagues; to connect at-risk physicians with resources to help them; to refer colleagues to peer coaching for help meeting professional development goals; and to be an inspirational voice for physician well being throughout the organization.

VITAL WorkLife has developed a comprehensive Well Being Advocate Program, as part of their Physician Well Being Resources solution, which trains Advocates and supports them in this role within the organization. Read more about the program, the Advocate’s responsibilities and why the program was developed in our article How to Improve Culture with a Well Being Advocate Program, and our post “A Special Kind of Colleague—Part 1.”

The Well Being Advocate is an exceptional individual within the organization who is:

A communicator who can effectively convey to physicians and providers the organization’s efforts to promote well being, while also communicating physicians’ needs to leadership.

An initiator who can set up and spearhead outreach efforts to make sure physicians are aware of the Well Being Resources VITAL WorkLife offers them.

A motivator who’s good at encouraging colleagues to make use of those Well Being Resources, so they can manage work/life demands and be at their best every day.

A positive and nonjudgmental supporter of colleagues’ best health and well being practices.

A promoter for Physician Well Being Resources as well as providing feedback to corporate benefits/HR departments regarding program implementation and promotion.

A role model who makes good choices for themselves in the realm of mental health, well being and the balancing of work-life demands. He or she is open, relatable and willing to share his or her own experiences in the realm of well being.

In short, says Sarah Prom, Director of Solution Delivery for VITAL WorkLife, the Advocate is someone who can “weave the importance of well being and the existence of well being resources into the fabric of the organization.”

For your physician well being program’s success we recommend you consider adding Well Being Advocates. Read more about the program, the Advocate’s responsibilities and why the program was developed  in our article How to Improve Culture with a Well Being Advocate Program.”


* Tait Shanafelt, MD et al., “The Business Case for Investing in Physician Well-Being,” JAMA Internal Medicine, September 25, 2017.

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