Followers of this blog may know of my interest in and passion for physician health and well-being. I was immersed in this world the last couple of months, with two amazing conferences and multiple conversations with fellow physicians at work. As often happens, I was moved to articulate a vision/mission statement of sorts, mostly to solidify my own intentions and also to share with like-minded colleagues.
I love that I enter this arena from the world of executive health. Corporate leaders, physician leaders, and physicians on the ground share so many attributes that everything I learn from patients translates seamlessly to my own professional development. This is exactly the right space for me to inhabit today, and I am forever grateful for the integrative experience. Physicians are care team leaders by default, and we miss opportunities to improve all of medicine when we forget or ignore this fact. I’m interested to know your response to the words below—the more visceral the better (but please, if possible, refrain from spitting, vomiting, or defecating your own words here):
Why do we advocate for physician health and well-being?
Because we believe we can only lead well when we are well ourselves.
Because leading can be lonely and leaders need support.
Because leaders need metrics of our own performance, both related to and independent of the performance of those whom we lead.
Because health and leadership intersect inevitably and who we are is how we lead; the more awareness and active, intentional self-management we practice, the more effective leaders we will be.
Because people follow our example, like it or not, so we owe it to ourselves and those we lead to model Whole Physician Health.
What Is Whole Physician Health?
Whole Physician Health is an approach to health and well-being which defines physician as both clinician and leader, both healer and vulnerable. This approach focuses on the 5 Realms of Health: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep, Stress, and Relationships. We explore how these realms intersect and overlap, affecting the individual physician, those whom the physician cares for and leads, and the entire medical profession. We apply principles from health and sports psychology, communication, leadership, mind-body medicine, and myriad other disciplines. We value openness, curiosity, critical analysis, and collaboration. Our mission is to create a resilient medical culture in which all members—physicians, patients, all caregivers and support personnel—thrive and flourish.
The Whole Physician Health Advocate:
*Values self-awareness and self-exploration.
*Understands and accepts his/her position as role model and culture setter for the team.
*Wishes to broaden the skillset in cultivating positive relationships
- With self
- Between self and immediate colleagues
- Between colleagues themselves
- Between physicians and staff
- Between teachers and learners
- With extended family of colleagues and institutional entities
- Between institution and the patients it serves
*Sees the physician health and well-being movement as an opportunity to learn, see from a different point of view, connect to fellow physicians, and form new tribal bonds that will hold us all up.
*Wants to contribute to the creation of a global professional vision and mission of the 4 WINS:
WIN 2–Those you lead
WIN 3–Your whole organization
WIN 4–All those whom your organization touches
Of note, one need not be a physician to advocate for Whole Physician Health.