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Physician Wellness

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There are many excellent programs and resources to support physicians struggling with aspects of their physical or mental health. We encourage physicians to contact their specialty societies if they have a specialty-specific issue regarding wellness.

 

Physician Wellness Content from CPSO

The College recognizes the importance of its members’ health and well-being, both at a personal level and in relation to their performance as physicians. Accordingly, members can identify physician health as an area for improvement in the CPSO’s Quality Improvement (QI) Program for Individuals. In doing so, members can develop a goal around physician health to incorporate into their Practice Improvement Plan.

CPSO has explored the issue of physician wellness from a variety of perspectives over the years:

Burnout and Moral Injury
The approach to clinician distress in health care has gradually evolved to focus less on an individual physician’s level of resilience and more on system-level challenges that impact physicians’ sense of wellness and their risk of moral injury. We discussed the changing language around clinician distress in an eDialogue article. We also interviewed Dr. Jillian Horton about the importance of practising self-compassion, and the need for institutional and system change to address burnout.

Discrimination
Experiencing racism or other forms of discrimination can lead to serious consequences for physicians, including not feeling safe at work, burnout and/or physical and mental health issues.

Seeking Help
Physicians may be reluctant to seek support for fear of being judged or reprimanded. It is important physicians feel safe being vulnerable and using resources if they need assistance. We spoke to Dr. George Photopoulos about his experience using the Ontario Medical Association’s confidential Physician Health Program (PHP). Dr. Jon Novick, PHP’s medical director, appeared on the ”In Dialogue” podcast to shed light on the program’s important work.

Visit eDialogue for more of CPSO’s work on physician wellness.

 

Programs, Services and Information Hubs

  • Physician Health Program, Ontario Medical Association
    The PHP provides confidential support for physicians struggling with mental health concerns, substance abuse or other behaviours that have a personal and professional impact, as well as offering support and education to physician leaders, hospitals and other worksites. Contact PHP’s confidential, toll-free line at 1-800-851-6606 or email [email protected].
    One of the services PHP provides is a virtual Doctors Drop-In Group for the exchange of support and encouragement. Sessions are held daily and led by a psychiatrist, who is an expert in facilitating groups.
  • Resources for Health Care Workers, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
    CAMH has expanded some of its supports to help health care workers maintain their health and wellness while coping with a wide array of stressors, including crises such as the pandemic.
  • Physician Wellness Hub, Canadian Medical Association
    A website with resources (links and articles) about physician wellness.
  • Physician Wellness, Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA)
    Offers a variety of resources on the importance of physician wellness by CMPA and other services. Includes resources for staying well during COVID-19.
  • Resource Hub, Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities
    This not-for-profit provides resources for a variety of disabilities and encourages physicians living with disabilities to build communities on the site.  
 

Courses and Activities

 

Mindfulness Resources

  • Self-Compassion for Healthcare Communities Training, Mindful Self-Compassion North
    MSC North offers a six-hour, evidence-based course that aims to improve healthcare professionals’ well-being and personal resilience. It teaches mindful self-compassion skills to help physicians deal with distressing emotional situations as they occur at work and at home. 
  • Healthy Minds Program app
    The Healthy Minds Program app uses meditation and podcast-style lessons to help users focus, reduce stress and maintain positive social connections.
  • Insight Timer app
    The Insight Timer app offers thousands of guided meditations and talks led by the world's top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers.
  • Headspace app
    The Headspace app provides hundreds of guided meditations, courses and mindfulness exercises on subjects like stress, general anxiety, worry, building resilience and more.
 

Additional Reading

The following articles explore different facets of physician wellness: