chairs to do the same . The department chairs did some Zoom virtual events , which worked quite well . One was for someone who was retiring , and the event even drew in his former students and peers , some overseas , to express their appreciation .”
More Burnout and Mental Health Options Available to Physicians
Those measures , while largely UAMS-specific , are examples of initiatives that other institutions and clinics can implement as well .
Cannady shared additional strategies that Arkansas physicians can utilize to lessen pandemic-related stress for themselves and their staff . “ Take time to let your staff know you care about their well-being ,” she said . “ Take stretch breaks during morning meetings . Encourage them to practice self-care – like staying hydrated during their shift – and make sure they are taking their breaks to eat . Try some belly breathing exercises with your group or try one of the many short mindful meditations on You- Tube or via apps like Calm that can be very helpful and take under ten minutes .”
Cannady also suggested talking with staff members about ways each of you are improving your health or reducing your stress . “ Talking about it will normalize it and others will feel like opening up ,” she added .
Finally , you can make sure your employees and colleagues know that resources are available to them . “ Most of the time , people don ’ t even know what is available to them in their benefits package for wellness needs ,” explained Cannady . “ It ’ s best to remind them often . Services like AR Connect are available to all Arkansans through the Psychiatric Research Institute at UAMS . If you don ’ t have services through your clinic , point your coworkers there . They can talk with someone 24 / 7 who is trained to help . That number is 501-526-3563 .
“ The most important thing for all of us is to pay attention and listen . We get so busy , we miss things . I think we have to stop and ask people if they ’ re okay . Reach out to your team . Stay open minded … listen with the intention to hear , not respond . The pandemic has made small issues feel insurmountable , [ but ] you can help by staying in constant contact , asking questions , and really listening .”
Some physicians may be hesitant to seek treatment for burnout themselves for fear of ridicule . Others may worry that getting help could impact their freedom to practice medicine . Or they may simply feel too busy to bother with it . For those physicians , Cannady recommended getting in touch with someone outside of their own institution or investigating the growing number of apps available to those in medicine . “ Services that are anonymous – like our Supportive Conversations service , where you don ’ t have to tell who you are or where you work – are great for us internally .”
She believes that apps such as Better- Help , Talk Space , and others are turning out to be one of the best places for physicians to turn because of their busy lifestyles . “ Many of these you can just text into , and physicians can reach out when they can reach out . Most of them allow you to feel out the
Resources person that you ’ re working with , to see if your personalities match .”
Of the ongoing pandemic and its effects on the health care workplace , Dr . Messias concluded , “ It has been a challenge overall . No one has been spared , but it ’ s important to keep our perspective . Let ’ s remember that there is a point that this is going to end .
“ Meanwhile , engagement is so important . Now , more than ever , we need each other . We are health care professionals taking care of other health care professionals . We need a sense of community . In your community , you play an important part . So , engage with other people . Find a way to participate in your specialty societies , like the Arkansas Medical Society . Engage with your communities – your health care community , your physician community , your local community . Yes , we need to do it safely , but we need to find a way to do it .”
* Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Integration in Physicians and the General US Working Population Between 2011 and 2017
( http :// www . mayoclinicproceedings . org /) Mayo Clin Proc ., September 2019 ; 94 ( 9 ): 1681-1694 , https :// doi . org / 10.1016 / j . mayocp . 2018.10.023
How to Create a Clinician Wellness Committee https :// www . acponline . org / practice-resources / physician-well-being-and-professionalfulfillment / how-to-create-a-clinician-wellness-committee
Support Line for Physicians 1-888-409-0141 The Physician Support Line is a free and confidential support line for physicians , staffed by over 600 volunteer psychiatrists . The website explains , “ Because there is no formal doctor-patient relationship established , the call does not have to be reported to any medical board as therapy .”
The service is only for physicians , but reports that a similar service available to all front-line health care workers and first responders . 1-800-327-7451 ( TTY 711 )
Text FRONTLINE for free crisis counseling https :// www . forthefrontlines . org / USA text 741741
BetterHelp – Online Counseling App ( 4.7 stars , 28.6K ratings ) Boasts more than 10,000 trained , experienced , and accredited counselors .
Talk Space Therapy & Counseling App ( 4 stars , 15.3K Ratings ) This app matches you to a therapist in your state and may be covered by insurance .
200 • The Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society www . ArkMed . org