Lecture Discussion 105    

Phillip Phelps, LCSW,  Lindsay Nakaishi, MD

Burnout, resilience, and wellness are buzzwords that have captured the attention of the medical field and graduate medical education agendas.  Organizations are scrambling to create initiatives to improve well-being and resilience.  However, many of the programs may unwittingly and subtly communicate that burnout is caused by a lack of well-being and that well-being is the responsibility of the individual.   Members of the organization may feel a sense of weakness and/or a feeling of being blamed for succumbing to organizational toxins.

There are four primary drivers of burn out: Individual factors, work unit factors, organization factors and national factors. The lowest hanging fruit is to incorporate individual activities focused on work life balance such as yoga, meditation, resiliency training, stress reduction, diet and exercise. However, when well-being initiatives are saturated with individual centered activities, it sends a message that it is the individual’s responsibility to process, manage and prevent burnout. It is imperative that we address the work unit, organizational and national factors that contribute to an individual’s well-being, or lack thereof, in order to change the workplace culture.

Our well-being “champions” have struggled with finding the right balance of promoting self-care while addressing systemic stress. We aim to empower providers to respectfully and professionally push back against the system and to challenge the notion that professional helpers should be able to handle anything. This presentation will present results of a “Wellness in the Workplace” grant and collaborate with attendees to design next steps to address organizational threats to providers.