Stress in Medical Practice

A career as a doctor can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be challenging.
Doctors are exposed to high levels of stress in the cause of their profession & susceptible to experience burnout. Stress among doctors depends on the type of job (i.e speciality, organization ), personality of the doctor, the interpersonal relationships with in & outside the health care fraternity.

In adequacy of staff & resources, sleep deprivation & confronting constant emotional & physical suffering, work/home conflict , patients expectations & demands are important stressors.

Burnout among doctors also increases risk of depression, anxiety, insomnia, alcohol & other substance use, marital dysfunction & most seriously Suicide.
Doctors have a suicide risk of 72% higher than the general population.

Managing stress among doctors involves a combination of support systems in the workplace, that is organizational interventions & training them from adopting appropriate adaptive coping skills.

Stress management interventions are needed to cope with the alarming levels of stress.

Several adaptive coping strategies are associated with lower burnout & secondary stress. Management at individual level like- Positive reframing:

  • Create a social support network
  • Practice mindfulness intervention
  • Relaxation techniques ( JPMR, YOGA).
  • Defining balance in time between work & family.
  • Nurture positive relationships
  • Practice acceptance.
  • Strategy planning
  • Venting is a good practice & helps release stress.
  • Opt for stress reliving hobbies.
  • Avoid substance use….

Managing doctors stress at organization level:

  • Protection from malpractice threats
  • Providing flexibility with starting & finishing time.
  • Role Clarification Availability of adequate staff.
  • Create “Assistance Program” in collaboration with mental health professionals for those experiencing mental health issues.
  • Introducing family & team building activities Responsibility for creating awareness about mental health problems, de-stigmatize it..

Doctor’s wellness is an important element of the healthcare system that has implications on patient’s safety & quality care. So optimizing doctor’s wellness through individual & institutional interventions is recommended to cope up with the stress.

Article Compiled By:
MBBS, MD (Psychiatry) MIPS, MIMA.

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