Blog | Monday, August 20, 2018

How can attending physicians promote wellness?

As a ward attending physician, I have some influence over learners' lives. During my time with them, I can impact their daily activities, but I can also serve as a role model of wellness.

Step #1 – Run efficient rounds. The time we spend on rounds can have a negative impact on a resident's ability to leave on time. Develop time constraints for rounds. Recognize when a consult or order has a high priority and give the intern or resident time during rounds to get that work done.

Step #2 – Maximize their control. Total lack of control negatively impacts wellness. Do not micromanage, rather manage. Do not tell the interns and resident everything that they must do, rather ask them what they want to do. If you disagree strongly, use that disagreement as a teaching opportunity.

Step #3 – Celebrate off days. Ask your learners what they did for fun. The simple ask endorses that they are human beings who deserve fun.

Step #4 – Share your activities. Tell the team about a good movie you saw, or discuss good restaurants. Let them see that you are well rounded.

Of course if the attending physician suffers burnout, then everyone is in trouble.

This blog post from Stay Out of my Wellness is insightful and worthwhile: “Wellness is not a one-size-fits-all concept. What resident physicians need is the unstructured time to define for themselves what wellness is, to seek it out, and to feel guilt-free in doing so.”

db is the nickname for Robert M. Centor, MD, MACP. db stands both for Dr. Bob and da boss. He is an academic general internist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and the former Regional Dean for the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus of UASOM. He still makes inpatient rounds regularly at the Birmingham VA and Huntsville Hospital. His current titles are Professor-Emeritus and Chair-Emeritus of the ACP Board of Regents. This post originally appeared at his blog, db's Medical Rants.