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DOCTOR STRESS “He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope”.                                                  Samuel Taylor Coleridge “We are not asked whether we will accept life. That is not the choice. We must take it. The only choice is how.” Henry Ward Beecher
We are not immune - 60% of family docs have thought of quitting because of stress. Medicine, like other professions, has become more complex both practically and administratively, stretching doctors resources way too thin. All this change for the worse has resulted in morale in the medical profession dropping to an all time low. The practice of medicine, like everything else, is continually changing. This may be good or bad, but it’s happening. Just some of the Major stresses in medical practice include: Paperwork and administrative tasks Too many hours: Time Pressure: Balancing work and family Fear of Mistakes and Litigation Implementing EMRs and bureaucratic invasion of practice and billing Contradictory research and guidelines Patients: difficult, demanding, critical - or uninsured No control over changes and direction of health care "The most obvious cause of doctors' unhappiness is that they feel overworked and undersupported". Richard Smith We feel responsible for our patients in a way and at a level that other health care workers cannot understand. When a patient dies suddenly, most of us feel at least some guilt and responsibility, even though we managed the patient well. And if we didn't - which happens to the best of us, then it can take a long time to recover, if we ever do. Each specialty has its own strains, from making life or death decisions under pressure, to technical challenges, to being the 'last resort' in complex cases. But the fact remains that in any area of medical practice the 'stress' experienced will depend on how well the resources of the physician can match up to the demands of the job Who? Me? Asking for help is really hard for doctors. Which of us is comfortable in admitting that we are in need, and feeling stressed? Perhaps more than other professionals, doctors shy away from the thought of admitting to symptoms of stress or depression. We'd feel inadequate and ashamed; and who would we tell? How could we get confidential therapy or prescriptions in our town or even district? Until recently medical students were tacitly encouraged to ignore their own feelings. Now 30% of med students have symptoms of major depression but still are told to just 'shape up'. If they can't and are treated, they will be labelled and find it hard to get insurance or a decent job. SOLUTIONS? Our profession is facing difficult times, but we are lucky in comparison with many others. We have many resources, both internal and external, which give us the ability to not only manage life's challenges and change effectively, but give us the opportunity for true happiness as well. The same concepts and skills we recommend to patients will work for physicians too if, used regularly. Would they avoid burn-out, have more fun and be more able to teach patients? In the book ‘The Stress of Medicine’, (180 pages) you can see how it might work. Available as eBook $9.95 or Paper Copy $17.95      (including S & H )                     Click HERE For Students and Residents we offer the book ‘The Stress of Medical Training” - 130 pages Click HERE for more information. REVIEW "........I found it enjoyable and very easy to read. Some books are too heavy and serious and are therefore a trial to finish reading. Dr. Rainham's book, however, was highly readable with a good mix of humour and entertaining visual aids to spice up the book, compelling the reader to read the whole thing. I especially found the chapters on relaxation and memory techniques useful." -Ellie Tsai, 4th year medical student, UWO StressWinner offers workshops and seminars for physicians and trains facilitators/trainers to deliver them in hospitals and in the community. Hospital administrations and businesses which deal with physicians are welcome to contact us for information on setting up these sessions.
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