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    5 ways to improve physician mental health



    3.     Defuse tense situations. There are some amazingly simple techniques that psychology can teach us to defuse even the most stressful situations. For example, when faced with an angry person, simply repeating back their own words and showing empathy (“You are angry because you have been waiting an hour. I can see how that would be very upsetting.”) can often completely alleviate a bad situation. Another example is learning how to respond to comments that are personally hurtful, such as inappropriate sexual remarks. The very straightforward technique of just repeating back the offensive statement in a calm and controlled manner, and then verbalizing that the remark is not appropriate (“You say that I look sexy today? That is a sexist thing to say, and not appropriate to say to your doctor/employee.”) works incredibly well to take back control of a negative situation.


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    4.     Maximize work efficiency and find work-life balance. Uncompleted charts stacking up?  Psychology can help you learn to stop procrastinating and get your notes done by avoiding perfectionism and insecurity that makes us over-document. Running late all the time at the office? Psychology can teach us how to schedule realistically, and how to smoothly transition long-winded patients. The list goes on and on.

    5.     Take control of your life. Sometimes doctors feel completely trapped—perhaps by medical school debt, a non-compete contract or a large mortgage. But the reality is that even when the choices don’t look great, we still do have choices. We can continue to work in our current system, using psychology to learn strategies to work around the challenges. Or we can decide to make a complete change by getting a different job, working locum tenens or even stepping outside of the system completely by opting out of Medicare and third-party payers. 

    Avoiding the stigma of seeking psychological care

    First, we should all be aware that the Mental Health Parity Act, updated under George W. Bush in 2009, requires that health insurance companies cover psychologic care to the same degree as they cover physical care.[2] Finding a psychologist that accepts your health insurance plan may be another story, but theoretically, group health insurance should cover psychological counseling.


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    With that being said, we do need to be conscious of our state licensing board requirements. While some medical boards ask only about current impairment from mental health issues, other states ask more vague questions about past issues, or ask if you have ever sought help for mental health. 

    Next: Psychology can help

    Rebekah Bernard MD
    Dr Bernard was a National Health Care Scholar and served at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Immokalee, Florida for six years ...


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    • Anonymous
      Ugh! In any other field, the advice would be: "Quit!". Why do we do what we do then need to go get psychological help for it. That's freaking mental! No one gives a damn about doctors, and the ABIM, ACP, AMA, AAFP, and ABFM, are all of the sudden, worried. They helped cause this. If you do not work at least 35 hours a week in clinical medicine (or 50-60 like many of us) I don't want your opinion.
    • [email protected]
      Cool Hand Luke Remember that scene between Luke and the Captain when after he hits Luke hard enough to knock him down the captain says, "What we got here is...failure to communicate". After receiving a letter from CMS that began "Dear doctor, you have qualified for a 1.5 percent reduction in CMS reimbursements because of your failure... After receiving another letter this past week that began in much the same way but stated that now you have qualified for a 2 percent reduction in your CMS reimbursements for 2018 beginning on January 1, 2018 until and including December 31, 2018 because of your failure... In William Shakespeare's famous and immortal play Julius Caesar Roman senator Cassius replies to Brutus saying "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves , that we are underlings". As in other human endeavors, we have allowed ourselves to be kowtowed repeatedly by a government whose desire is to control each and every one of us both patient and physician while they enjoy the spoils of victory for the rest of their natural lives and yet it is we who are driven to seek psychiatric care and psychological counseling for the difficulties we have adapting to this BRAVE NEW WORLD with the realization that the worst is yet to come. Ben Franklin so acerbically commented during the deliberations before the Declaration of Independence was adopted, If we don't hang together we will surely hang separately. The government will come after doctors one at a time until there are none left to make a difference anywhere in medicine

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