Managing one's own stresses is the toughest part of
practicing medicine. - Oscar London M.D., W.B.D.
"As I learned through hard experience, the practice of
medicine is a black hole that can absorb every moment you will give.
It's easy to become so devoted to your patients that you neglect the
people who matter most to you." - Matthew D. Foster, MD in
Medical Economics 10/23/95
Practicing medicine is hard. Consider this recent
TOP PHYSICIANS NOT ALWAYS BEST HUSBANDS AND DADS
- A major magazine annually lists top-rated
physicians in the country. Generally, these are based on
physician peer ratings and supplemented with information from
patient surveys and physician-treatment patterns. While most
physicians look forward to reading their names in the list...,
those not impressed with the survey are the physicians' spouses.
"We pay the price," said
the nonphysician husband of a Midwestern winner. "We do the
chores, plan family and social activities, and arrange most
other activities of daily living. What most concerns us is
that our physician-mates give so much emotional support to their
patients and colleagues that there is often very little left to
share with us." - from an article by Dr. Xenakis in
the 6/97 issue of Cortlandt Forum
and this very old article:
"...my wife and I had come to realize one
of the chief difficulties of the family doctor -- the constant
drain upon the emotions. To stand helplessly while relentless
organisms destroy a beautiful mother, a fine father, or a
beloved child, creates terrible emotional distress; and this
feeling is increased by the necessity of suppression. That is
why the average lifetime of family doctors is 55 years, most
of them succumbing to functional impairment"
Joseph A. Jerger, M.D., written in 1939
are some resources to help:
for Professional Well-Being. An organization devoted
to teaching and encouraging self-care behaviors to
professionals. Emphasizes constructive approaches to handling
stress in the era of health care reform and avoiding burn-out
among health-care professionals, with an emphasis on physician
stress. Membership fee is nominal. Call them at 919-419-0011.
Richard Swenson, M.D. (Navpress, 1992) Provides
"a prescription against the danger of overloaded
lives....if you yearn for relief from the pain and pressure of
overload, take a lifelong dose of Margin under the care
of a specialist. The benefits of good health, financial
stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for
God's purposes will follow you all your days." Dr.
Swenson's follow-up, The
Overload Syndrome -
Learning to Live Within Your Limits, is a practical
"how-to" that I often recommend to my own patients.
Dissatisfied with your
current career or practice? Consider Strategic
Career Management for the 21st Century Physician
by Gigi Hirsch, M.D. or
the Bedside (American Medical Assoc.)
Page Check out the
'Physician, Heal Thyself' section for some very good advice.
Health and Well-Being (Physician's Guide to the Internet)
Observer - Five strategies for physicians to overcome burnout
focus Surviving (and even enjoying) medicine
(Abi Berger, BMJ)
links on physician satisfaction
- to support the spouses of Medical Students, Residents, Fellows,
and "Finished" Physicians!
HUMOR Project Web Site seeks
"to help people get more smileage out of their lives and jobs
by applying the practical, positive power of humor and
Management for the Academic Emergency Physician (eMedicine.com) by
Dr. Steven Parrillo
Road to Burnout
Stress Free Network
Institute of HeartMath
and Burnout - very good
information here. I'd recommend it.
You Stressed Out (from 3/97 Family
Close Are You to Burnout?
(from 4/97 Family Practice
Stress Introduction (New
England Regional Leadership Program)
Aspects of Medical Negligence Litigation
to Prepare for a Lawsuit (Ray Fish)
Marriages - Flora Johnson Skelly
(Physicians Guide to the
Burnout Course (Texas Medical Assoc.)
for Physicians (Grady Cash)
happened to the profession? - Dr. Paul Jay Fink, Physician's News
Tools - How to Master Stress
Burnout (Joel Cooper, The Medical Reporter)
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