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Physician health and wellness discussed at IERHA’s spring dinner for physicians

Canadian Medical Association (CMA) president, Dr. Gigi Osler, attended Interlake-Eastern RHA’s (IERHA) spring physician dinner at Larter’s Golf & Country Club in April to present the findings from the Canadian Medical Association’s recent National Physician Health Survey to 33 doctors who work in Interlake-Eastern RHA. Physician health encompasses the prevention and treatment of acute or chronic issues of individual physicians, as well increasing the connections that support health and wellness. The survey’s goal was to generate up-to-date data to inform physician health initiatives. 
Almost 3,000 physicians across Canada completed the survey delivered in 2017. Eighty-seven per cent said their emotional well-being was high, 81 per cent said their psychological well-being was high 82 per cent of participating residents and physicians said their resilience was high. The survey also revealed areas of concern, such as burnout, depression and lifetime suicidal ideation, with rates being higher among residents than physicians and higher among women than men. Other results highlighted that physicians with five or fewer years in practice were more likely to experience burnout and have low resilience than all other physicians. Physicians whose main practice setting was a hospital had increased odds of lower emotional well-being, lower social wellbeing and lower psychological well-being, compared with those working in other settings.

Dr. Osler, who is the head of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at St. Boniface Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Manitoba, shared her experiences while in training and how she has come to realize that addressing physician health and wellness is important on many levels. In medical school, as a surgery resident she wouldn’t take a break or a sip of water or juice unless she saw her attending surgeon do so first. That culture is what makes many physicians often leave taking care themselves last. But like they say on an airplane, she said you have to put your own mask on first before helping others.
According to Dr. Myron Thiessen, IERHA’s chief medical officer, the annual dinner is an opportunity to bring physicians from the far reaches of the RHA together to socialize, share ideas and learn something new. 

“The region’s vast geography often means some physicians don’t see colleagues as often as they would like to and I have no doubt that contributes to feelings of isolation. We were really pleased to see seasoned physicians and those who are new to practice in Interlake-Eastern RHA attend the dinner and hear Dr. Osler speak,” said Thiessen. “Physician health and wellness isn’t something that we often talk about but it is so important to personal health and, in turn, it greatly influences the care that we can extend to others.” 
In addition to reflecting survey results back to its members, the CMA has adopted a policy on physician health that provides several recommendations related to individual- and system-level actions that they recommend be pursued by stakeholders at all levels of the health system to promote a healthy, vibrant and engaged profession.

phys dinner group shot
Recently attending IERHA’s physician dinner were (front row, left to right) Doctors Manitoba CEO, Theresa Oswald, CMA president Dr. Gigi Osler, (back row, left to right) IERHA’s chief medical officer, Dr. Myron Thiessen; chair of IERHA’s board of directors, Margaret Mills; and IERHA CEO, Ron Van Denakker.


 

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