In March 2018, The Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine (CHARM) published an article titled “Charter on Physician Well-being” in JAMA. The piece describes guiding principles and lists recommendations for promoting well-being among physicians. The charter successfully pulls together, in a 2-page document, a comprehensive approach to preventing burnout and fostering well-being among physicians.
One recommendation especially caught my attention. “Anticipate and Respond to Inherent Emotional Challenges of Physician Work.” A tenet of addressing physician burnout is that some amount of stress is inherent to the practice of medicine. The supporting text suggests that, “Organizations could aid physicians by integrating regular protected opportunities for debriefing within the workday and by building professional support systems to address the influence of adverse events on physicians and other members of the health care team.”
Why did this portion of the document intrigue me?
This post was co-authored with David Brendel, a psychiatrist and executive coach who blogs at Leading Minds Executive Coaching. It appeared on KevinMD on April 9, 2018.
Physician burnout rates hover around 50 percent and the adverse consequences are serious. Burnout is associated with increased medical errors, suboptimal care, turnover, and personal costs, including substance use, depression, and suicide. The financial cost to healthcare organizations is significant: replacing a physician is estimated to cost at least $500,000. Plus, physician turnover results in care disruption, patient access issues, and lost revenue for hospitals to which the physician referred patients for specialist care and other services.
What fuels burnout? Contrary to popular belief, burnout is not due to personal weakness or increased susceptibility to stress. Professional burnout is a predictable response to stress in the workplace.
I recently wrote a guest post on the changing demographics of American physicians. I crafted it as an open letter to organizational leaders, who need to understand and respond to the shifting needs of these physicians if we are to have a healthy physician workforce in the years to come.
Dear Healthcare Leaders, Board Members, and Interested Others:
You may have noticed a recent trend in your human capital. If you haven't, here's the upshot: Your physician workforce is changing.
And to guide your organization, you'll need to understand those changes — and shift your priorities accordingly. As a physician and author dedicated to helping my clinician colleagues thrive, I'm here to help.
Here's how your workforce is evolving...
Read the rest of the post here!