Heal Thyself

November 8, 2015 by | 2 comments


Time for a Rx for self care?

Providing patient care can be stressful even at the best of times. Add in some additional political controversy, financial concerns, and general uncertainty, and you have a recipe for burnout. As a professional group, doctors are notoriously bad at ensuring they receive appropriate care and support for themselves, and often drive themselves harder when the stress starts to mount. Here is a gentle reminder to take stock of your current situation.

Take a moment to ask yourself:

  • Do I have a family physician or primary care provider?
  • Do I feel mentally, emotionally, and physically well?
  • Am I experiencing burnout? 1
    • Feelings of mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion
    • Lack of motivation or interest
    • Feelings of ineffectiveness
    • Cynicism and frustration
  • Do I have colleagues who may be experiencing burnout?
  • Do I have the right supports in place to help me deal with new stressors?
  • Am I able to provide support to a colleague dealing with new stressors?

Each of the provincial physician organizations have recognized the importance of helping doctors stay healthy, and have developed support programs with contacts for counselling services, physicians who will treat physicians, etc.  Even if you are feeling happy and healthy yourself, consider reviewing the relevant website and posting information in your local staff/doctor’s lounge.


British Columbia: Physician Health Program 

Alberta: Physician and Family Support Program 

Saskatchewan: Physician Health Program 

Manitoba: Physician Health and Wellness 

Ontario: Physician Health Program

Québec: Physicians’ Health Program 

New Brunswick : Physician Health Program  (need to scroll down)

Nova Scotia: Professional Support Program 

PEI: Physician Health

Newfoundland: inConfidence Employee & Family Assistance Program


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About the Author

Taylor Lougheed is a physician in Family and Emergency Medicine, and passionate about sustainable public healthcare, quality improvement and patient safety, medical education, and global health.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_burnout


  1. Stephen

    Great reminder, Taylor. We spend so much time focusing on others’ care that we neglect ourselves!

  2. Andrew Lee

    I don’t think about this nearly often enough. I’m guilty of the “it will never happen to me” thinking, but should get myself a family doctor for the future. I make sure my family is covered, my patients are covered, so why not me?

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