Support for physicians
At Vanderbilt, physicians can turn to the Faculty and Physician Wellness Program, which was established nearly 20 years ago, for confidential psychological support.
About 6 percent of the faculty and physicians seek help annually for problems that are impacting their personal and professional lives, says Mary Yarbrough, MD, executive director of Faculty and Staff Health and Wellness.
“We have cases every single day,” she says. “Through coaching or counseling, we help these individuals re-identify what is important to them and define steps they can take to get their joy back.”
The American Medical Association offers a STEPS Forward series of online modules for practice improvement, including modules on improving physician resiliency.
Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of mindfulness in helping physicians combat the thoughts and feelings that contribute to burnout.
Yarbrough also points to the important role of the Center for Professional Health at Vanderbilt in providing programs for physicians from around the country related to disruptive behaviors and self-care. The center has also provided workshops at VUMC on well-being related to retirement and women’s issues.
“While Vanderbilt has a strong foundation in managing high-risk physicians, we are expanding our reach to reduce burnout and stress even earlier,” Yarbrough says. “The institution is promoting strategies at all levels that empower physicians to achieve excellence, establish institutional accountability for physician well-being and support physician self-care.”