FEBRUARY 13, 2017, PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) – The Medical Corps Professional Development Team at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth led a panel discussion about provider burnout Jan. 26.
Provider burnout is classified as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of low personal accomplishment which leads to decreased effectiveness at work.
This affects all providers in both the military and civilian medical settings.
“This is a chronic state; it is not just a provider having a bad day,” said guest speaker Lt. Cmdr. Justin Lafreniere. “Folks that spend 20 percent or less doing what they enjoy are more likely to experience burnout and quit administrative medicine.”
Burnout does not appear overnight, rather it develops and worsens over time, but it can be reversed at any point.
“There’s not one right answer for burnout,” said Capt. James Radike. “As physicians, your response will be different. Remember to cut yourself some slack.”
While discussing what can lead to burnout, members of the Medical Corps also discussed a few of the options the Navy is taking to combat it.
The Caregiver Occupational Stress Control is Navy Medicine’s initiative to establish a comprehensive, standardized program to address stress reactions and injuries involving healthcare providers.
The committee provided guests with suggestions to help develop and maintain resilience in six key areas:
Have a positive outlook; find an opportunity for growth in stressful situations, calm and comfort yourself, and find something to laugh about.
Spirituality; pray or meditate, and rely on a value system or set of guiding life principles.
Active coping; take action to fix things, face your fear, and look for creative solutions to the problem.
Self-confidence; expect that you had candle the problem, and know that you will bounce back from the stressful situation.
Learning and making meaning; look for meaning in the experience, understand that bad things can, and will happen to anyone.
Acceptance of limits and circumstances; know that you have limits, accept things you can’t change, and be good at determining what situations are changeable and what situations are not.
NMCP also maintains a provider wellness committee which assesses health care provider’s personal, medical, or behavioral conditions which could impact their ability to provide care. The committee will maintain confidentiality and refer the provider to an appropriate source for evaluation and treatment.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Terah L. Bryant, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs