As a two-time nationally recognized physician wellbeing program developer, I have worked with both administrators and physicians to establish the systemic changes needed to create a culture of wellbeing and one that prevents burnout.
The nation’s growing burnout and suicide rate among physicians and providers is being called a top health crisis. Because of how they have been trained, physicians and other providers do not readily reach out for help.
A strong physician wellbeing program promotes quality, safety, retention and satisfaction. It is vital that a health system’s administration, physician leaders and providers work together to fix the burnout epidemic. Through honest and caring collaboration, we create a clear two-fold strategy. We build a culture of well-being plan while developing the resources physicians need.
This video was created by the Catholic Healthcare Association for the Achievement Citation Award for the LIGHT program, which I helped to create and lead.
I authored a chapter titled “Shining a LIGHT to Wellbeing” in Transforming the Heart of Practice: An Organizational and Personal Approach to Physician Wellbeing. This unique, step-by-step guide offers a comprehensive exploration of burnout and physician wellbeing, a vital issue that steadily has become widely discussed in the professional and mainstream press. More than twenty chapter authors contribute to this multidimensional volume, including physicians, psychologists, researchers, healthcare administrators, chaplains, professional coaches, and counselors.
I also authored a chapter for Physician Well-Being During Sustained Crisis, a book from the Coalition for Physician Well-Being. The book, geared to physicians, healthcare providers, healthcare executives and leaders developing wellbeing programming, is a collection of essays written by wellbeing leaders, healthcare leaders and physicians across the nation.
Strategies for Distressed Physician Behavior
I consult with administrators to build strategies for how to help distressed physicians. Physician stress levels and behaviors can disrupt teams and impact relationships with colleagues and patients. These behaviors are often caused by burnout, personal issues, stress, depression, addiction, or anxiety. These issues can lead to medical errors, decreased patient satisfaction, loss of revenue and potentially loss of life if these causes go untreated.
Based on my extensive experience, I offer recommendations and options for the right level of care and identify ways to encourage the provider to seek assistance. The goal is two-fold. First, physicians and providers get the help they need. Second, leaders review the work factors that may have contributed to the issues and then make the changes to improve the environment. When a full analysis of the situation happens, each difficulty leads to a better way of practicing medicine for the physician and for the health system.
Restoring health, confidence, and hope after a crisis is important.
In my 25 years of experience with critical incident response, I have worked with people who have experienced: worksite accidents, bank robberies, suicides, helicopter accident with multiple fatalities, interrogations/investigations, school crisis, tornadoes, workplace violence, unexpected deaths of patients, medical errors, lawsuits, bullying/mobbing, police and firefighter incidents, downsizing, grief and shock of coworker illness/death and other events that perpetuate a feeling of loss of control.
People have different reactions to these kinds of situations based upon their personality, background, family of origin, current stress level and past experience with crisis. I offer individual and group support that allows those struggling with a crisis to understand the effects of the event, heal, and gain a new level of resilience.