Kentucky Doc Spring 2016 - Page 24

24 doc • Spring 2016 Kentucky Physician Health and Well-Being Ensuring Medical Staff Well-Being By John A Patterson MD, MSPH, FAAFP In his role as Chief Medical Officer for Lexington Clinic, Robert Bratton MD is concerned about medical staff well-being in light of the growing awareness of our national epidemic of physician stress, burnout and suicide. He says, “I have seen many of my colleagues battle this in various ways. Two years ago, we lost one of our physicians to suicide. Most of us never suspected this desperate act by a colleague who was obviously struggling. Stress and burnout have a profound effect on your ability to cope and can affect your care of your patients. Studies have shown - if physicians are burned out - they are less likely to provide high quality care and their patient satisfaction scores are typically not as high. Really I don’t think that is any surprise to us as physicians.” “Studies have shown - if physicians are burned out - they are less likely to provide high quality care and their patient satisfaction scores are typically not as high.” – Robert Bratton MD He has observed some generational differences between physicians in a couple of important ways. Physicians under age 50 seem less stressed by the demands of technology whereas older physicians often cite technology as a main source of their practice-related stress. Early career physicians also seem more aware of the value of team-based, interdisciplinary care models, work-life balance and self care, whereas older physicians are more likely to have a ‘captain of the ship’ mentality, habitually leading and dominating rather than co-leading and collaborating. They are also less likely to prioritize self-care activities. He says, “Physicians are faced with everincreasing demands on their personal and professional lives and especially primary care physicians who are often left with the vast amount of paperwork and care coordination responsibilities that are now necessary to care for patients. Estimates suggest that at least 400 physicians commit suicide every year. That is equivalent to 3-4 medical school classes per year taking their own life. Furthermore, some studies show that many physicians now discourage others (including their own children) from going into medicine. With these facts in mind, I feel it is important to recognize physician burnout and develop ways