Further Healing Thyself

Here are some ethical ways to help our colleagues and ourselves.

SPECIAL REPORT: PHYSICIAN WELLNESS PART 2

Last month in our Special Report, 2 papers discussed the wellness risks of physician substance abuse and the benefits of work-life balance. These are ethical ways to help our colleagues and ourselves.

As several more papers on the subject show in Part 2 of this Special Report, there are many places to touch upon and embrace the elephant of physician wellness.

Systems that disempower physicians and other health care professionals are the major cause of our burnout epidemic. That presents a major challenge: unless we are in a leadership position, there is not a lot each of us can do to improve the systems in which we work.

Yet, as these additional papers indicate, there is still quite a lot that each of us can do for our own wellness. So much so, that you will find additional articles online.

In one article, you will find 8 sound tips for preventing burnout. The last tip is simple but important: “remember your purpose.”

Remembering one’s purpose leads, in turn, to the article “The Alluring Mistress: Reflections From my Affair with Medicine.” Although personal psychotherapy was more or less required as a therapeutic vessel 50 years ago when I was in training, it is no longer expected. This personal article of reflections was an inspiring self-disclosure of how a psychiatrist, with help, realized what was really important in his life. This, in turn, led to a major change at work and much improved wellness. Some degree of this sort of soul-searching may be the lodestar for physician wellness, for it is what each of us can control the most.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. To create a better world, he is an advocate for treating mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.