For Stressed Docs, Where to Turn?

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , January 19, 2012

"Physicians are seeing that organizations are not really providing the necessary service and support to help them achieve a work/life balance," Alan Rosenstein, MD, medical director for Physician Wellness Services, tells HealthLeaders Media, referring to the survey and report findings. "Some of that would be administrative support and being sensitive to their time demands, or being more proactive in offering them services such as wellness programs or coaching, or something to support them to emotionally adjust to stresses in their environment."

Of doctors who utilized programs inside their healthcare facilities to deal with stress and burnout, 31% said they used wellness initiatives, 29% used workshops and education, 19% used onsite exercise facilities or classes, and 15% used counseling or other behavioral services.

Health systems need to address physician stress and burnout concerns "because this is a serious issue," says Rosenstein, "and right now it's continued burnout because the solutions aren't there. One solution is physician awareness and they do it themselves and take the time to exercise, for instance, and recognize the downstream consequences of stress and burnout."

"On an organizational level, people need to realize physicians are burned out and mistakes can happen," Rosenstein adds. "There's no cookbook that offers one solution. There needs to be a cultural and leadership commitment to this. Whatever is done, through human resources or a medical staff office or a physician wellness committee, it's the intent that is critical to begin making those connections with physicians."

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