Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wellsprings of resilience

Patricia Lindholm, MD,
2010-2011 MMA President
Originally Posted October 28, 2010

As physicians, we confront a host of stressful conditions and adversities, related to patient care, practice management, and just life. The challenge of a long-career in medicine is to learn how to bounce-back from these ups and downs, while still maintaining our equilibrium, openness, and wholeness. This is called resiliency by  physician-wellness experts.

I recently listened to a podcast about physician resiliency by pediatric radiologist Richard Gunderman, M.D., of Indiana University. It was part of series of podcasts I highly recommend called “Healthy Practices,” which are moderated by Dr. Mamta Gautam, who is known as “The Doctor’s Doctor.”

One of Dr. Gunderman’s thoughts is that aspiring to significance in our practices and our lives - leading lives that matter - can serve as a wellspring of resilience in ways that striving for success and prestige cannot do. In my view, medicine is a calling, not just a career or a job. I believe that burnout is more likely if we feel like cogs in a big machine, cranking out patient encounters, and racking up RVUs. If we realize that we are actually servants touching the lives of people when they are vulnerable, our work has great significance indeed.  

I would love to hear your stories of resiliency.  How have you recovered from adversity in your professional or personal life?  Can your life lessons inspire one of your colleagues? Leave a comment here or email me. 

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