Wellness found in a mentor relationship | Leigh Cantrell, MD, MSPH
Seven years ago I joined the faculty of the University of Virginia. Fresh out of fellowship, I was assigned a mentor within my department–someone to help me settle in, learn the ropes and culture and ensure that I worked towards accomplishing all of the tasks needed for promotion. While that mentor was wonderful, it was an artificial relationship. It is the mentor that I gained by chance who has promoted my wellness and helped me deal with burnout. Many colleagues have questioned how a hand surgeon could mentor a gynecologist oncologist and I can’t explain it, but I know it works.
Turning off the Tech |Taylor Turner, MD
I turned off all the notifications on my iPhone—except texts and voicemails. For those of you who sleep at night with 3,000 unread emails, it may not help. But for the rest of us, it makes a difference. I worried about new emails, or what else I missed. Was something urgent sitting in my inbox? I got used to it, and now I read my email when I want to read email.
The Art of Saying ‘NO’ | Kimberly Resnick, MD
Ping. Ping. Ping. The invitations come pouring into my calendar—a meeting, a committee, a conference call. My spouse groans as I accept another commitment. I am the Division Director, Associate Residency Director, swim team mom and first grade room parent. I find my mind flooded with thoughts of swim meet snacks as I prepare the residents’ complicated master schedule.
From Pathology to Positivity | Monica Hagan Vetter, MD
“The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life.”
–Martin Seligman, PhD, founder of the field of Positive Psychology
Wellness and cultural change | Shannon MacLaughlan David, MD
The SGO’s 48th Annual Meeting showcased wellness in a multidisciplinary way. A plenary session showed us the impact of burnout on productivity. We learned from a hematologist-oncologist about resilience and career fit. A social worker taught us about managing our energy, and we were reminded by a Navy Seal that medicine is, in fact, a team sport.
The Myth of ‘Effortless Perfection’ | Brittany Davidson, MD
I had a healthy fear of GYN/ONC fellowship when I started. My OB/GYN residency wasn’t one I would particularly designate as “onc-heavy” and, while I loved taking care of the oncology patients, I worried whether I would be happy or capable of doing so on a full-time basis. I worried about whether my surgical skills would be up to snuff, whether my attendings would regret ranking me, whether I was emotionally capable to provide these women with the care they needed during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. What can I say; I worried.
Finding time to be balanced about wellness | Diljeet K. Singh, MD, DrPH
When I first learned about the benefits of a wellness approach, my autopilot applied it to my patients and trainees. And when the “practice what you preach” got loud enough in my head, I put it on my to-do list, and whined to myself, “Really? Not only am I supposed to be mindfully treating patients with expertise and compassion, skillfully using the most up-to-date approaches by reading and teaching, thereby curing, etc., but now I need to be Zen about it all?” And to have a healthier “work-life balance,” I need to spend less time doing it?
Continuous performance improvement | Marta Crispens, MD
The patient described here is fictitious, but is based on situations that we have all experienced.
Mrs. Smith is a delightful, 48-year old woman with stage IIIc high grade serous carcinoma of the ovary. She undergoes an optimal cytoreductive surgery, including modified posterior pelvic exenteration with low colon anastomosis. She is slender and healthy. The surgery goes well, except for some challenges with the colon anastomosis. In the end, it is airtight, and all seems well. She is discharged from the hospital quickly, but returns within 24 hours with a pelvic abscess due to a leak from her anastomosis.
Running on empty: using exercise to combat burnout | Leslie S. Bradford, MD
I used to be a runner.
For mile after mile, I would maintain a seven-minute mile pace, feeling the stress melting away. Hearing the rhythm of my feet hitting the road cleared my mind and put me in a sort of trance.
You get it. Perhaps you used to be a runner too–or a swimmer, or a cyclist. You were driven. You knew what it meant to feel pain and to keep going. Your sport taught you discipline and resilience. It pushed you to excel in your field.
But life happens.
Preventing Burnout Through Leadership, Physician Engagement and Patient Engagement | Julian Schink, MD
Early in my career, I had no idea what burnout was, but I certainly knew a lot of burned out doctors. They were disengaged, condescending, mocking patients and learners and referring providers; for a while I thought that was normal, as in “normalized deviance”– the acceptance of something wrong because it is so common. Now physician burnout is in the news, and many specialties report a prevalence as high as 50 percent. While I am not a statistician, that number suggests that either you or one of your partners may be suffering from burnout. With this in mind, I see three steps to decreasing and preventing burnout: Leadership, Physician Engagement, and Reconnecting with Patients.