Need work-life balance to tide over stress

However, technological and training advances in modern medicine have enhanced skills and empowered physicians.
Representative image
Representative image

KOCHI: One of the serious concerns in medical administration and medical education has been the problem of ‘impaired physicians’. The medical profession has always been challenging, strenuous and stressful for practitioners everywhere.

However, technological and training advances in modern medicine have enhanced skills and empowered physicians. It has eased the burden of therapeutic decisions and reduced the strain. This should have also eased the career burden of doctors. Paradoxically, however, the stress, vulnerability and their impact on physicians have increased.

The complexity of diseases has also expanded along with challenges and uncertainties, which has increased the stress on the physician. The public’s expectations are also on the rise when it comes to the performance of doctors, consequently, the tendency for aggressive retaliation when it is not met. Moreover, the rigorous and regimented work schedules in many healthcare institutions add to their stress. Meanwhile, self-employed doctors have to handle the challenges of management in addition.

Like any profession, for doctors also, handling stress needs an optimum work-life balance. Effective time management and positive lifestyle structuring are necessary for it. This is where many doctors fail.

How to manage

Depression and anxiety, substance abuse disorders are often identified late and managed imperfectly among medical professionals. Most doctors are prone to denial, trivialisation and neglect of such problems. They may not be able to see themselves in the role of sick or impaired and could be reluctant to speak about their emotional difficulties in their home or personal lives.

Peer group systems should be encouraged in healthcare institutions to transcend this communication barrier. Identified persons with distress who need professional services should have easy access to mental health and behaviour medicine services.

Prevention is better than cure

The escalating prevalence of substance abuse, marital discord, dysfunctional families, issues of children, suicidal tendencies, etc, are burning concerns in the medical fraternity. A considerable segment of this morbidity spectrum can be effectively prevented through a good work-life balance. Individual doctors should take it as vital for stabilising their lives and careers.

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