Doctors' wellbeingBMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7391.718/a (Published 29 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:718
In a demanding profession like medicine, work related stress is neither something to be ashamed of nor a sign of incompetence. It just requires the right approach. A special issue this week of BMJ Careers focuses on wellbeing, offering advice on stress management (p s107), as well as guidance for ill doctors (p s103), and tips for maintaining wellbeing (p s109).
Readers may also look to the internet for help. Heal Thyself (http://www.healthyselfprograms.com/), a US affiliation of practitioners and teachers, runs several programmes in the United States designed to enhance doctors' health, wellbeing, and stress management skills. Tackling problematic medical marriages, increasing relaxation and recreation for the clinician, and providing the opportunity to rethink careers are among the programmes on offer. The drawback with these programmes is that doctors cannot participate online, which implies that only US doctors have real access to them.
For doctors who want to rediscover or strengthen the satisfaction of practising medicine, the US Institute for the Study of Health and Illness has a solution (http://www.meaninginmedicine.org/): start or join a Finding Meaning in Medicine (FMM) group. “We have found a simple form of group process that enables us to listen deeply to one another, rediscover the joy of our work and receive the kind of healing that only fellow physicians can bring to one another,” says the site. The process is said to be simple and to require little effort. Just register and you can access the resource guide for doctors who wish to start an FMM group in their communities. The site also hosts an online group with a new topic every month.
UK doctors dealing with difficulties arising from job stress or illness can find help—and links to other sources of possible help—from the Doctors' SupportLine website (http://www.doctorssupport.org/) and the National Counselling Service for Sick Doctors (http://www.ncssd.org.uk/).