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Four Strategies to Supercharge Physician Wellness

In the next decade, there will be a shortage of 120,000-180,000 physicians in the US. This signifies two things: a massive challenge facing healthcare organizations, and an almost unbearable burden on today’s physicians.

Physicians need to prioritize their wellbeing. For their work to be sustainable, they need to understand that they need to care for themselves in addition to their patients. Putting everyone else first sounds noble, but in practice it leads to the rampant burnout physicians and their colleagues are seeing today.

That said, broad changes happen slowly in the healthcare industry, and supporting legislation takes time to react. While the need for more physicians in the mid-to-long term is vital, physicians can’t set future healthcare professionals up for success without improving their own experience today.

Four Tips for Improving Physician Wellness

Improving physician wellness takes time. There’s no singular solution and despite their best intentions, healthcare leadership often struggles to improve the wellbeing of their staff. At the end of the day, improving physician wellness begins and ends with the physicians themselves. To improve their wellness, physicians should consider the following tips:

1. Connect With Other Physicians

Nobody succeeds alone, especially not physicians. Despite that, many physicians feel isolated at work. This contributes to poor physician well being, and can quickly lead to burnout. Physicians can combat the sense of isolation by taking time to mindfully connect with other physicians.

Practicing their coaching skills can allow physicians to create a space where their fellow physicians have permission to be themselves and discuss the challenges they’re facing. When colleagues are struggling, using active listening techniques will make them feel validated and leave physicians fulfilled.

Finally, physicians need to understand that while they can connect with and emotionally support other physicians who are facing similar challenges, they can't fix everything. If physicians don’t remind themselves of that fact, they may experience a sharp decline in their wellness, rather than an improvement.

2. Stay Flexible

Through their training, physicians have had procedures and practices drilled into them for a decade or longer. While this training makes some tasks second nature, it also makes many physicians resistant to change.

When physicians are so desperate to avoid change, it only makes them resent their work, struggle to adapt moving forward, and drives them closer to the brink of burnout. Overtime, as old changes become the norm, resistance compounds and makes life harder.

Dealing with change isn’t easy in any professional industry, healthcare in particular. Despite that, wellbeing demands that physicians stay flexible, and try to retain a sense of optimism. If they focus on what they can control, they’ll find that no matter what the change is, they’ll be able to adapt.

3. Enhance Your Professional Fulfillment with Vision, Mission, and Why Statements

As a physician, it’s easy to become disillusioned after years in the healthcare industry. Therefore, it’s important for physicians to keep their motivators and inspiration at the top of mind. While many physicians enter the profession for similar reasons, each person’s values, goals, and motivators are different. When physicians give voice to these, it can help keep them engaged and provide positive direction.

To enhance their professional fulfillment, physicians should take the time to write the following:

  • A personal vision statement: This is a big-picture goal, stating where a physician wants to be. It’s ultimately an aspirational goal, but it serves an important purpose.
  • A personal mission statement: This describes where a physician is right now, and how they conduct themselves each day.
  • Finally, create a why statement: This will account for a physician’s reason for being in their profession—their values and principles.

4. Invest in Your Career

Finally, a physician’s vision statement isn’t useful if they don’t take action toward achieving their goals. Engaging with their profession and staying up to date on emerging developments can lead to greater career satisfaction, improved wellness, and prevent burnout.

Physicians can invest in their careers by taking additional training and enrolling in other upskilling opportunities, by getting involved with physicians’ associations, or by contributing time or insights to healthcare organizations and journals.

One of the best ways physicians can invest in their careers alongside other healthcare professionals is by attending continuing medical education conferences. The Continuing Education Company’s CME conferences are held in relaxing environments and feature engaging speakers who are leaders in the fields. The curriculum is not only highly polished, but it’s sure to leave physicians inspired to continue improving professionally.

To learn more about Continuing Education Company’s live CME conferences, check out our upcoming conference calendar. Or, browse our online course catalog that offers some of the most engaging online CME available!

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