Rammya Mathew: Why are doctors so unhappy?BMJ 2020; 368 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m100 (Published 14 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m100
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'Changing the status woe'.
Mathew’s article is right to sail against the narrative of despondence which seems to colour our profession (1). For too long inquiries have focused on what makes physicians unhappy, instead of addressing how to improve wellbeing amongst Doctors. High stakes, unsociable working hours, and an increasingly exhausted NHS have long been the status quo. We must adopt strategies to overcome them. Survival within the system demands a short-sighted, task-driven outlook, and this comes at the expense of the very fulfilment which drew us to Medicine in the first place. This is made worse by the growing chasm which exists between the public’s perception of Doctors and the realities of day-to-day working life.
But we are not blameless, this ‘sought after’ profession naturally attracts high achieving and competitive members of society. In the work place these attributes can contribute to distrust and alienation between peers. This lack of compassion can certainly add to feelings of negativity.
The solutions to us are clear, the rise of ‘Wellness Medicine’ will be as critical to patients as it is to the clinicians who deliver it. Promoting these concepts must start during time at medical school, or we risk failing another generation of Doctors. Only then can we rebuild a sense of community within our profession, and create the sense of belonging which we all need to thrive.
(1) Mathew, R. (2020). Rammya Mathew: Why are doctors so unhappy?. BMJ, [online] Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m100 [Accessed 15th January 2020].
Competing interests: No competing interests