WHY WELLNESS MATTERS
Selfless. Dedicated. Independent. Confident. Compassionate. Responsible.
Those are characteristics most consider essential for physicians and other health care professionals, but they also have a dark side. These virtues render a healer unable to ask for help or treatment because of such a strong sense of invulnerability and a fear of appearing weak or incapable of “curing” themselves. In reality, most caretakers need more self-compassion and must take as good care of themselves as they do for their patients.
There is a time to ask for help.
This is a time to join your professional society (nursing, medicine, pharmacy, dental or veterinary) so that a louder voice can support your best interests and fight for change from within. Doing it alone is too time consuming and is often mis-interpreted by management as just “whining.” Wellness initiatives are being developed in all professional organizations.
Resiliency. Balance. Flexibility. Adaptability. Self-Acceptance. Mindfulness.
These things may not have been taught in your training but schools now emphasize wellness, so past graduates have to learn for themselves important skills that should be practiced. These skills are essential for a health care professional’s personal well-being, as well as for business reasons.
Exhaustion and burnout lead to more than a professional’s own dissatisfaction. They result in heightened risk of medical errors, more behavioral disruption and workplace conflict, substance abuse, suicides and – the business concern – practitioners leaving their profession.
For example, every doctor who drops out of medical practice costs some health care entity $250,000 or more to replace. Few groups or institutions can afford to lose even one physician. And each physician loss exacerbates access problems for patients. This is similarly true in other health care professions as well.
The solution? Physicians and other health care professionals must attend to self-care and wellness as an ongoing process.
It is essential not to be isolated at home or at work where colleagues can support each other and collaborate to change processes that aren’t working. For example, providers and users of computer systems need to provide input BEFORE decisions are made and software is developed. The insurance industry and political changes have been driving changes that professionals have to follow seemingly without input. This is a time to JOIN, rather than withdraw!
Let these elements of “Wellness” be a healthy start for YOU or the colleagues that you work with.
LIVING A BALANCED HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
What constitutes and how to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle?