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You Got the Job, Now How Do You Manage the Stress?

Posted on Mon, Jan 11, 2016
You Got the Job, Now How Do You Manage the Stress?

By Jim McMillin
 
Medical school and residency were stressful enough, but many physicians find that the stress doesn’t end there. Delivering care takes detective work, emotional and cultural sensitivity, precision, organizational skills, stamina and more, especially in high-acuity units like EDs and ICUs. It’s important to know how to get help when you’re at your breaking point.
 
Physician burnout is defined by the AMA as “a long-term stress reaction characterized by depersonalization, including cynical or negative attitudes towards patients, emotional exhaustion, a feeling of decreased personal achievement, and a lack of empathy for patients.”
 
In 2015, 46 percent of physicians self-reported burnout, according to a widely cited Archives of Internal Medicine national survey. Front-line physicians are most prone to burnout, with higher rates among critical care physicians (53 percent) and emergency medicine physicians (52 percent). The individual and organizational consequences of this epidemic are significant; physician burnout can lead to impaired judgment, communication gaps, or performance liabilities, affecting not only the patient-physician relationship but potentially the treatment the patient receives as well.
 
The Joint Commission suggests that the best approach to managing physician burnout is to provide proactive educational and support services that provide appropriate operational and emotional training. To this end, EmCare actively participates in best practices research and is committed to providing the resources needed to effectively stem the downstream consequences of physician burnout.
 
Our Client Services team works closely with hospital clients to design evidence-based wellness programs and training modules to address physician burnout, including:

 

  • Annual wellness surveys to assess incidence of burnout
  • Stress management counseling and self-care training (nutrition, fitness, emotional health, work/life balance)
  • Visible recognition program to reward and recognize high-performing providers
  • Mentorship and “buddy programs” to counteract physician isolation
  • Wellness activities, such as monthly lunches and off-site recreational events
  • CME opportunities focused on burnout prevention training, such as online modules offered by the AMA
  • Professional development plans that include stress management and emotional engagement as professional goals
  • Studer Group coach training in emotional management strategies

Additionally, we work with hospital leadership to reduce the burden of administrative tasks and EMR stressors by providing EMR training and support, as well as scribes and advanced practice providers, where appropriate.
 
EmCare is committed to providing a supportive, productive environment for all of our clinicians. For more information about available programs and resources, visit the Clinicians section of our website.


 
Jim McMillin is EmCare's National Director of Recruiting.

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