Intended for healthcare professionals


How can I feel less isolated from colleagues?

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: (Published 16 April 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1510

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  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

For some doctors, professional isolation has been a long standing concern, while for others self-isolation has only recently separated them from their colleagues. Abi Rimmer asks experts how to deal with it

“Keep in touch and chat as usual”

Steve Miller, a consultant psychiatrist, says, “The first thing is to ensure that you aren’t isolated even if you’re forced to be alone: use Facebook, WhatsApp, or FaceTime to keep in touch with as many colleagues as possible, past and present. Talk to each other as you normally would when in each other’s company. Sharing can increase a sense of togetherness and lessen isolation. It’s also important to keep up your continuing professional development, reflection, and supervision, this will keep you on top of things and lessen any worries about coping with a backlog on returning to normal working.

“When working, plan your day and maintain a routine, sticking to normal work times where possible. Don’t forget to schedule breaks and always plan something pleasant for them. Make sure that you don’t spend all your time working. Now is a good time to read that novel you’ve never had time for, to watch that box set, or to start a new hobby.

“When not working, try to keep fit by doing some exercise, there are free instructors on YouTube, and try not to increase your alcohol …

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