The Importance of looking after your own health and well-being

 

Doctor Well-being

 

Working in the health sector can be a super tough gig. 

 

Doctors and nurses know very well that there are particular challenges and stresses unique to the business of keeping humans healthy. The Doctor’s Support Network, a website that caters for the health needs of medical professionals and students, reports that doctors are MORE likely than non doctors to have a mental health problem. These include: 

 

Stress

Burnout

Anxiety

Depression

Bipolar Disorder

Psychoses 

Eating Disorders

 

These stresses in turn place pressures on relationships, family life and life balance. Medical professionals clearly experience similar tensions, worries and obstacles as other professionals, and yet, despite working in the area of healthcare, they are less likely to feel supported and encouraged in looking after their own health. 

 

A survey by Cardiff University, which consulted almost 2,000 British doctors at various stages of their careers, 60% had experienced mental illness (the figure is 82% among doctors working in England). What’s more, most of those struggling had not sought help. It is obvious with regard to doctors’ health, both physical and mental, that support is needed and a change in workplace culture is necessary. 

 

So what can doctors and medical professionals do to improve and prioritise their personal health?

 

Helpful suggestions include the importance for medical professionals to have their own independent GP. Establishing a relationship with another trusted doctor ensures the delivery of evidence-based preventative care. Within this space a documented history can be created and the opportunity for health promotion discussions becomes available. Too often doctors rely on ad-hoc ‘corridor consultations’ with colleagues, which is not a practise that can adequately address serious health concerns. Having an independent GP often facilitates access to the healthcare system that many doctors (as patients) describe as being difficult.

 

To overcome some of the difficulties doctors face in accessing healthcare the BMA have developed advisory services providing information and links to resources for medical professionals throughout the UK. Other services including the Doctors’ Support Network and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  are dedicated to improving the health of doctors, medical students and primary care professionals. 

 

If you are suffer from any of the health problems itemised in the bullet-point list above, or know of someone who is, then these resources are well worth checking out. For those looking to improve the health of their own practice or workplace, encourage your colleagues to seek out and regularly check in with their own independent GP. Value the notion of doctors taking care of their own health. Model this behaviour yourself, particularly if you are in contact with junior doctors. A simple sentence like, “Sorry I’m late, I’ve just been to the doctor.” can go a long way to changing the culture and attitudes of a practice.

 

Medicine is a tough gig, and we need to take care of one another.

 

If you wish to discuss you current locum placement or further locum opportunities, know that Agenda Medical Recruitment is always keen to support you.

 

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