Dr. Doreswamy and a patient
August 15, 2018 | by Darcy Constans MD

There has been a lot of press lately about physician burnout. We know from studies that up to 60% of physicians are suffering from burnout. Providing first class health care requires supporting those giving care and keeping providers healthy.

Why is Provider Well-being Important?

Unsurprisingly, a health care provider who is well physically and emotionally will do a much better job than a burned out provider. Just like our patients, we encounter stressful professional and personal situations and require self-care to stay focused and healthy on the job. When providers are well, we have more capacity to listen closely to what is really important to our patients, which helps in diagnosing and treating patients accurately. Increasing calm in the workplace, offering flexible schedules, and providing tools for stress management all make a difference in improving provider well-being.

Provider Support and Team Based Care Enhance the Patient Experience

The Polyclinic is taking the challenge of combating burnout seriously. We offer wellness classes and one-on-one support, teaching our providers to take time for reflection and self-care, and helping them stay focused on the joy of practicing medicine. We work with them to connect more authentically with colleagues and with patients.

We teach stress management practices, mindfulness, and communication classes. All of these methods have been shown to improve provider happiness, which in turn improves patient care. And our commitment to wellness extends beyond providers: we also offer Mind-Body classes for patients and staff to encourage the practice of self-care and stress-management for all.

We also are expanding our care teams to include advanced practice clinicians (such as PAs and ARNPs), nurses, medical assistants, scribes, social workers, and extra staff to support both providers and patients. This team based care model fosters a collaborative culture and allows each member to share responsibility for building healing relationships with patients. Patients benefit from an entire care team working together to meet your individual health goals. Working with scribes in the exam room also allows providers to focus on patients and not paperwork.

So, the next time you learn your provider is on vacation or you meet a new team member, know that your provider is taking steps to maintain emotional and physical health -- and in turn will be more fully present in your care. Let us support each other in being as healthy as we can!

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Written By: Darcy Constans MD