Family Medicine – Day 8

I can definitely see how easy it is to burn out in family medicine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying it, but in the absence of good wellness practices it can definitely be a ticking time-bomb. More so today than any other so far, I saw the effects of the the short appointment slots. A lot of the patients we see can be complex and/or have a lot of problems to address, and the 15 mins that are scheduled simply are not enough. At the same time, we can’t just increase their scheduled time because other patients need to be seen. From the patient perspective it can appear like doctors are being dismissive of their problems or of their time which can hurt the relationship. From the doctor’s perspective, they would like to do more and to have all the time in the world, but it simply not possible, and there can be feelings of being under-appreciated. These feelings can lead to physicians be short or inpatient. Together these things can feed off each other, especially in the absence of empathy from either party (and actually likely applies to many healthcare professions).

To simply say doctors should develop better wellness practices though would be short-sighted. I think it’s an important part of the puzzle, but I think we need to also work towards systemic changes to improve patient care and physician wellbeing. Alright, give me some ideas…

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