What if Continuing Medical Education (CME) was tailored to our needs?
The primary focus of CME has traditionally been on clinical knowledge and skills. While these are undoubtedly crucial, the increasing awareness of the physician experience and its consequences calls for a shift in priorities. Physicians need training in areas like stress management, mental health, and work-life balance to cope with the demanding nature of medicine. Unfortunately, such programs often do not receive the same recognition and credit as traditional clinical education.
One of the primary challenges I see in healthcare wellness programs is the forced practice of “wellness.” Wellness encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, making it a broad and multifaceted concept. “Physician Burnout” has a stricter definition. The term implies an individual failure, despite the overwhelming data showing the factors causing burnout are system-driven.
The Need to Refocus on Physician Wellness Programs
There is a need for change. Healthcare organizations should incentivize wellness education and other important skills needed to practice medicine under the shifting landscape of medicine.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Reward the Pursuit of Wellness: A physician’s overall well-being directly impacts patient care. Prioritizing wellness and burnout prevention benefits both the healthcare providers and the patients they serve. How can we reward wellness?
- Remove Mental Health Stigma: The healthcare community often faces stigma around mental health. Encouraging and recognizing programs that address these issues can help break down these barriers. How can we eliminate stigma?
- Promote a Coaching Mindset: Coaching programs can equip physicians with the skills to support their colleagues and better handle stress, sustain through adversity, and manage uncertainty in an increasingly challenging environment. How can we encourage a coaching mindset?
- Prioritize Prevention over Management: Just as medicine emphasizes preventive patient care, the same should apply to physician wellness. Addressing system factors perpetuating burnout and advocating wellness early can prevent more severe issues down the road. How can we prioritize prevention?
How we define wellness and the urgency with which we address it matters. If we truly care about physician wellness, our actions and programs will match our rhetoric.
I hope you will join me and other SurgeonMasters coaches during Physician Group Coaching sessions. Registration is free and you can earn 1 CME credit per session.
I want to hear your perspective. Let me know by emailing [email protected].