Charter for Compassion
I am an active member in the Charter for Compassion. There is a sub-group forming looking at compassion in medicine. I realized a while ago that my relationship with my patients was an important part of the healing process. What I did not realize for a long time is that you cannot really understand and hear your patients until you have a deep relationship with yourself.
In March of 2011 I put together a seminar for medical professionals. It was called, “A Course on Compassion: Empathy in the Face of Chronic pain.” It was a remarkable learning experience for me and I would encourage you to watch the videos, which reflect the entire course.
One concept I learned that day was about a research study showing that the compassion inherent in most medical school applicants takes a deep dive during the third year of medical school. This is well before the rigors of residency, which makes medical school look like a vacation. Many training programs are downright abusive. Indeed the burnout rate in every survey is between 50-60%.
No Awareness – Wrong Treatment
The driving force behind burnout is anxiety. It is a word that is seldom mentioned amongst physicians. We are supposed to be above it all. Our medical culture does not admit to it or discuss it. Additionally, the treatment paradigm for anxiety is flawed. Traditional psychology is ineffective as anxiety is a core symptom of the Mind Body Syndrome (MBS).
This is essence of the problem:
It is hard to reach out when you’re burned out.
Burnout is both a preventable and solvable problem. The medical world needs to figure this out quickly – for all of our sakes.