An Illinois Focus on Physician Wellbeing
A Special Spotlight on Illinois State Medical Society Wellness Resources and Advocacy for a Healthy Medical Workforce
Even in the best of times, being a physician can be stressful. The very nature of the profession means that doctors feel a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to their patients, a privilege that often provides a sense of joy and satisfaction, but occasionally brings feelings of despair and helplessness when compassion is the only instrument left in the medicine bag.
Administrative pressures associated with third-party payer policies, state and federal laws and regulations, electronic health records, and the effect of rising health care costs on patient access to necessary services and treatments have all added to the fundamental pressures many physicians feel when caring for individuals at their most vulnerable moments.
Physicians are also not immune to the common challenges of trying to balance a career and a family. As is the case in many professions, female medical students, residents and physicians can experience direct or indirect gender discrimination, and be led to believe that their dreams of being a parent and pursuing a challenging medical specialty are incompatible. Physicians who struggle to maintain a meaningful work-life balance often fail to find satisfaction in either area, and thus face another source of stress and distress.
These compounded stressors are leading to a crisis of physician burnout, the results of which can be catastrophic for physicians and their patients.
The Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) has been actively engaged in developing programs and advocating for policies and practices that prioritize physician wellness and help support Illinois physicians, residents and medical students. The following is a list of recent activities and resources ISMS has developed to shed light on the unique challenges physicians experience in their professional and personal lives, and to reduce barriers to helping physicians get the assistance they need.
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