January: Introduction to Wellness
The Colorado Medical Society and its Expert Panel on Physician Wellness have taken on the goal of improving physician wellness and reducing burnout in 2014. A crucial partner in the effort are the experts at the Behavioral Health and Wellness Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, who will develop a toolkit over the next year specifically tailored to physicians to address the eight dimensions of wellness with a focus on stress and burnout. BHWP experts will provide monthly web posts and encourage CMS members to provide feedback to shape the development of the toolkit. Below is the first in the series. Go to www.cms.org/resources/category/physician-wellness to view others in the series.
For many physicians, living well does not become a focus until you are unwell. It may be easy to overlook small signs that you are at risk. As a physician, the focus of your work is to heal others, which can seem more important than taking care of yourself. This is often directly and indirectly reinforced in medical school and in your workplace. You may work in an environment in which you are overscheduled. Documentation can consume the rest of your day, even into your personal time. After that, you may feel just too exhausted to do yet one more thing for yourself.
Studies show that physicians who create a balance between work and life report feeling happier. There is also evidence that physicians who are aware of their own health behaviors are more likely to work with their patients to make positive lifestyle changes.
The Colorado Medical Society has partnered with the Behavioral Health and Wellness Program (BHWP) to enhance awareness, provide information and build skills that facilitate well-being. We believe that in order for physicians to promote wellness, you need to engage in healthy behavior change for yourself as well as advocate wellness for those with whom you work. Towards this goal, it is important to work across all eight dimensions of wellness.
From this whole-health approach, your functioning in one dimension can enhance or impede your functioning in another dimension. When you open multiple doors to wellness, you can create momentum that translates into sustained health behavior change.
To begin this process, let’s further examine these eight dimensions of your personal wellness. Follow the link below to learn more about the dimensions of wellness. You will also have an anonymous opportunity to very quickly explore your wellness, while also identifying wellness themes that deserve further attention. Aggregate responses to the survey will assist you and your colleagues by suggesting directions for future CMS web postings and resources, which support physician wellness practices.
The survey is now closed. Click here to view the results of the survey.