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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many physicians and clinical staff treating patients who are battling the virus are also finding themselves trying to find ways to combat the burnout, fatigue and stress brought on by the pandemic. In the midst of these unprecedented times, the Coalition for Physician Well-Being hosted its annual conference.
The conference, held virtually to ensure the safety and well-being of attendees, focused on addressing current challenges and supplying resiliency tools to aid in combating stress and fatigue. In addition, participants looked at how health care systems have developed processes and programs to ensure support of their teams – physically, mentally and spiritually.
“This conference exists to promote physician wholeness through the efforts of hospitals and clinics where physicians work. Research shows that well-being initiatives that incorporate individual and institutional efforts are more successful than when physicians do it alone,” said Ted Hamilton, MD, chairman of the Coalition for Physician Well-Being and chief mission integration officer for AdventHealth.
This year, attendees engaged in a series of seminars, panel discussions and work sessions. Presentations highlighted programs created to maintain provider well-being. This topical information is presented with hopes of helping hospital systems and staff across the nation, especially as they combat the coronavirus.
Over the course of the conference, numerous guest speakers shared their COVID-19 expertise during hour-long presentations. This included Tait Shanafelt, MD, from Stanford University and Bryant Adibe, MD, from Rush University System for Health, who discussed issues relating to the needs of health care systems and staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; and Jo Shapiro, MD, of Harvard Medical School, who spoke on experiencing COVID-19 personally and how this influenced her peer support work.
Omayra Mansfield, MD, vice president and chief medical officer for AdventHealth Apopka and Winter Garden, presented on building resilience and how to find meaning in medicine.
“Burnout is incredibly common; more than half of physicians experience it,” Dr. Mansfield said. “And now, I believe it is the highest it has ever been.” Understanding the needs of physicians and health care teams during a time of crisis helps professionals who are struggling to care for patients.
The final day of the conference featured AdventHealth’s COVID-19 Command Center Panel. During the panel, various AdventHealth leaders shared how the organization has responded to the pandemic across its markets, providing attendees with a snapshot of how they can implement these types of initiatives in their own work.
This year, the conference also emphasized how health systems have developed processes to ensure a well-balanced life for physicians, despite the pandemic. Even for long-time health care professionals the conference has proven to be beneficial.
“Lifelong learning is essential to keep physicians current and competent,” said Dr. Hamilton. “A culture of efficiency, safety, collegiality and teamwork is important.”