Clinician Well-Being

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is committed to doing its part to combat the increasing rates of depression and suicide among all clinicians.

Physician burnout is on the rise, and now affects more than half of U.S. doctors. Declining satisfaction with work-life balance, high rates of depression, and an increased risk for suicide are some of the challenges facing many physicians today, from medical training through their careers. These problems are associated with suboptimal patient care, lower patient satisfaction, decreased access to care, and increased healthcare costs.

This webpage is intended to provide our visitors with a variety of clinician wellness resources, practical methods to approach this topic, and an opportunity to exchange thoughts.

Research

Burnout is characterized by three symptoms: exhaustion, cynicism or dehumanization, and sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

Physicians face burnout at double the rate of other U.S. professions. Nurses are also acutely affected. Specialties that are on the front lines of healthcare access — emergency medicine, general internal medicine, and family medicine — carry the greatest risk of burnout.

Burnout has also been linked to hopelessness and a higher risk of suicide.  The statistics for physician suicide are alarming:

If you or someone you know is suicidal and in need of emergency help, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or use the Lifeline Crisis Chat.

Resources on physician well-being

Many organizations are making efforts and compiling resources to help with this epidemic:

Practical application

The Gold Foundation wants to hear about physician wellness techniques and strategies which are being applied successfully, please share your thoughts here.

Mindful Practice® Programs

Ron Epstein, MD, FAAHPM, Co-Director, Mindful Practice Programs; Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology, and Medicine; Director, Center for Communication and Disparities Research; Co-Director, Deans Teaching Fellowship University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

The Gold Foundation is excited to be collaborating with Mindful Practice and instructors Dr. Ron Epstein and Dr. Mick Krasner to bring this opportunity to our Gold Partners Council members and beyond. The Mindful Practice Programs are designed specifically for physicians and other health professionals. In this challenging era of rising rates of burnout, these programs are designed to promote compassion and communication, and strengthen resilience.

Highlights

Mindful Practice® programs are designed to help physicians and other health professionals to:

  • Enhance their self-awareness, wellness, and resilience
  • Promote compassion, communication and effective relationships with patients and colleagues
  • Advance the quality of medical care they provide

    Mick Krasner, MD, FACP, Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Physician well-being forum

As part of this essential conversation about physician burnout, we would love to hear from you. Has there been a time in your career – as a student, a resident, or a practicing physician – when you have struggled with feelings of depression or burnout? How have you been able to address these challenges? Has your membership in the Gold Humanism Honor Society, or your participation in another Gold Foundation program, helped you navigate a particularly difficult time in your career? Have you helped a friend or colleague during such difficult times?

We’re interested in hearing and sharing your stories, along with any strategies or resources that you have found helpful. No one is alone in these challenges, and sharing stories can help ease feelings of isolation.

Please share your story by emailing our staff here, or, contacting us through social media.

Stories from your peers:

“I remember being so scared that I wouldn’t feel like myself again and then so relieved when I could laugh and squeal with my family in a genuine way.”

“We are taught early in our training that doctors are supposed to be strong for their patients. We are taught that the virtues of hard work and selflessness are key attributes to becoming a successful physician. After just two years of residency, I recognized that those same virtues and our “hang in there” medical culture encourages a façade of strength.”

 

Creative Expression: Golden Glimmers

Golden Glimmers are a way for GHHS members to express themselves, and at the same time stay connected with their GHHS peers!

Golden Glimmer Theme #1 was advice for new medical students in the form of a haiku. Read the wonderful haiku poems here.

Golden Glimmer Theme #2 was submissions of photos that elicit feelings of joy, resilience, or passion. View the gallery here.