Wellness Committee Works to Combat Burnout

Premier Pulse     October 2017

Tarek-Sabagh_HS_350x350By Tarek Sabagh, M.D., president elect medical staff, Miami Valley Hospital

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, October 2012, physician burnout was found to be prevalent among U.S. physicians at a rate of almost one in two physicians. The main symptoms are emotional exhaustion, detachment from patient care, and lack of career satisfaction. Burnout results in problematic alcohol use, broken relationships and early retirement. Patient care is also affected in terms of safety, diagnosis and treatment. In the study, higher education with master’s degree or Ph.D. was associated with less burnout in contrast to MD/DO degree, which was associated with much higher burnout. This observation indicates that it’s not an individual problem but rather a system or work-related issue. Physicians on the front line of patient care in specialties like emergency medicine, family medicine and internal medicine are most affected.

Despite the magnitude of the problem, there is not yet an authority on how to best remedy it once it is identified. Fortunately, many attempts are under way to address the problem in a structured manner. Miami Valley Hospital restructured its wellness committee to try to create a more collegial and friendly working environment for our staff. The wellness committee is a medical staff committee chaired by the president-elect of the medical staff and includes about 20 members of the medical staff. The Physician Wellness Fund is established through the Miami Valley Hospital Foundation to directly fund our functions. The committee serves both physicians and APPs on staff at the hospital. We recently had an evening out attending a Dragons game. More than 100 staff and their families attended. It was a success. We’ve a long way to go, but we are determined to stay the course.

For information about the wellness committee’s social activities, please see Kelsey A. Pio, internal physician relations manager in the hospital physician’s lounge.

For questions or information about the wellness fund, vision or committee’s functions, please contact: Keith Bricking, MD, president of medical staff, MVH, or Tarek Sabagh, MD, president elect of medical staff, MVH. 

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