Kentucky Doc Spring 2016 - Page 25

doc Spring 2016 • Kentucky companies or insurance companies and others may be pursuing leadership roles in larger organizations. I have watched others become withdrawn and seemingly lose their compassion and caring attitude. Their personalities seem to change and they become negative and bitter. Some struggle with their relations at home and others struggle with depression and substance abuse. Some, it seems, manage to find the positive and adapt to the changing environment without missing a step. I think those are the ones with a healthy outlook on the current situation and a good support system around them. They are optimists and seem to ‘look at the glass half full’. Many have a good sense of humor to get them through difficult times. Those who are well-adjusted and have a good support system seem to adjust and cope better with the changes that are taking place in medicine.” Regarding our responsibility to train and educate residents and medical students and properly prepare them for careers in medicine, he believes medical schools should incorporate more self-care skill development into the formal curriculum. “I think some of the work restrictions in residency (although controversial) may help residents set limits on what physicians can do and can’t do while keeping the patient’s safety and best interest in mind. I think we should start earlier in our careers with developing coping mechanisms to deal with stress.” Since most of today’s physicians are products of a system that did not offer them such training, organizations like Lexington Clinic and the Lexington Medical Society are taking seriously their responsibility to help preserve the compassionate service ethic that leads most of us to choose medicine as a career. There is every reason to believe that resourceful physicians and physician organizations will find skillful and effective ways to take good care of ourselves, our colleagues, our families, our patients and our communities. About the Author John A Patterson MD, MSPH, FAAFP chairs the Lexington Medical Society’s Physician Wellness Commission, is past president of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and is board certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. He is on the family practice faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Saybrook University’s School of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, DC). After 30 years in private family practice in Irvine KY, he now operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative medicine consultations specializing in mindfulness-based approaches to stress-related chronic conditions and burnout prevention for helping professionals. He can be reached through his website at www.mindbodystudio.org 25