Florida Medical Association

FMA Magazine Spring 2016

Magazine of the Florida Medical Association

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25 www.FLmedical.org FLORIDA MEDICAL MAGAZINE SPRING 2016 By Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, M.D. I recently saw a physician recruitment ad that said, "Healing others shouldn't be killing you." An image of a stethoscope looped around itself pulled me in, triggering ashbacks of my years in medicine. As I picture the tight loops around the choking stethoscope — the archetypal symbol of our profession — I know many physicians feel like this right now. Squeezed in from every angle. Stretched to the max. Spent. And they feel this way right as they open the door to greet their next patient. Multiple articles attest to the growing prevalence of physician burnout, which has reached epidemic levels. On any given day, 30 to 50 percent of physicians meet the criteria for burnout (exhaustion, depersonalization and a diminished sense of meaning in their work). A recent MedPage article reports the mean average of physician burnout across di erent specialties at 45.8 percent, and over 60 percent among emergency medicine physicians. Even more concerning is the 10-percent increase in reported rates of physician burnout from 2011 to 2014. A recent JAMA article reports that over 25 percent of physicians in training meet clinical criteria for depression. ese statistics raise the question: Have physicians become patients as they strive to care for people in a broken, complex and increasingly regulated system? is gutsy question may just lead to its solution. I know of a prominent o ce that lost three superb physicians in seven months, and counting. ey all le for the same reasons. ey had little control over their days, no joy in their work, and felt they couldn't provide excellent care with the time constraints and other obstacles. Fortunately, walking away is not the only possible solution to these distressing situations. ere are many ways to recapture what we need in medicine, as my colleague (we'll call him Dr. Y) learned. It all started with a simple conversation. I wasn't on a medical mission, at the hospital or seeing patients. I simply went for a walk and met a new neighbor. I quickly learned he was a P hys i c i an , h e a l y ou rse lf — r ea l l y

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