This is the first letter in a series designed to promote physician and clinician healing in the digital transformation.
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Yesterday Sachin Jain, M.D., MBA, asked for cooperation in giving more hope to providers. We invite you to write a letter to providers. It isn’t enough to quantify the problem. Data tell us that the changes we need are personal. We need better work life. We need more support.
Patients can help solve and treat the problem of #physician and #nurse burnout. Even a short note can memorably transform someone’s day and feelings about the work that they do. Seeking partnership from all the patient groups and advocates out there! pic.twitter.com/yoEWknqoKm
— Sachin H. Jain, MD (@sacjai) December 6, 2018
“Healer, heal thyself” is a call physicians have not been able to answer. We are collecting letters in cooperation with Sharp Index and Dr. Jain, who’s the president and CEO of CareMore.
Well Being Trust is a national foundation with a mission to advance the mental, social and spiritual health of the nation. Ben Miller from Well Being Trust wrote our first letter. (It has been lightly edited for style.)
Dear Healthcare Clinician,
Helping people is one of the highest callings in any profession. You have spent years refining your craft, learning the knowledge and skills necessary to help people achieve optimal health and well-being and getting to know how to do this in a system that sometimes works against you. Yes, the relationship you will have with the system you work in will be a contentious one. You will not understand why it tells you “no” when you know it’s right for the person you are trying to help. You will become frustrated when someone thousands of miles away from your clinical encounter denies a visit, a medication or some other service needed for your patient and their family. You will begin to see how you get paid, how it shapes what you do, how long you do it and for whom. All of these pieces will add up and make you question why you do what you do. And in some cases, this awareness, the pace as well as the daily grind, will lead you to feel like you want to give up — like you want to find another profession, another life.
And then you realize the difference you are making daily. But you also realize that you feel like a pawn in a game — one where the loser often feels like you and the person you are serving. So you start planning — you take all those excellent skills you have learned and you apply them to problems beyond the clinic. You get involved. You speak up. You stand out. You try and change the system around you to be something that helps you do what you know your patients, their families and your community needs. You lead.
All this will be hard. It will be frustrating. It will challenge you in ways you may not be prepared for. But you lean in to others — develop supports that can help — seek care for yourself when needed — and, most important, keep your eye on why you are doing all this in the first place: to help. But to help others, you have to make sure you help yourself.
Unfortunately, we have created a culture in healthcare that does not support health as it should. But you now know this and the role you must play. Good luck, as the journey you are on matters — while there may be days you don’t see it, it always matters. Remember this. Write it on a wall, carry a card in your pocket, journal those stories that made you wake up and do it all over again. Persevere.
And yes, have faith. We can do this. Together.
And then wait for it. One day you will wake up and hear of a revolution in healthcare. Smile to yourself and know deep down that this was a movement you helped start.
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