As part of the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath, adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948, physicians swear to “remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.” These character traits enable health professionals to use their cognitive and psychomotor skills of healing to meet the needs of a particular patient – a healing relationship that makes compassion a moral virtue.
It is well known that physicians are called upon to be expert decision makers, leaders of health care teams, and remain the ‘calm in the storm.’ Family physicians, specifically, often choose their field because they want to have strong, personal, and clinical relationships with their patients. Whether you are a medical student, resident in training, or a well-seasoned physician, healthy yet empathic boundaries in a clinical setting is important; not only for the patient but for the physician too.
Finding balance and healthy boundaries in professional relationships will be the focus of the next session of the Wellness Wednesdays series. On Wednesday, April 19, at 12:15 p.m., we will explore ways to support physicians’ provision of compassionate, humanistic care all while preventing burnout and compassion fatigue.
“There should be reciprocal empathy, but not reciprocal attention – that demands good professional judgement when it comes to healthy boundaries,” said Nelson Heise, clinical director at the Ohio Physicians Health Program (OPHP) and the facilitator of the Wellness Wednesday program. “Make sure to use your professional peer support if you are ever challenged by a difficult boundary situation.”
Well-maintained boundaries are not only a professional imperative, they also allow physicians to take essential time for themselves so that they can recharge their emotional batteries. It involves setting boundaries so that physicians can have a private life, where the role of doctor, parent, sibling, community leader, and neighbor provide fulfillment and personal happiness. Strategies to find boundary balance and a source for peer support will be discussed during the next Wellness Wednesdays session.
Space is still available to participate in the next Wellness Wednesdays session—register today!
“Wellness Wednesdays” is a structured, monthly webinar series that focuses on enhancing professional and personal wellness through the joy of medicine. The series is facilitated by a licensed professional clinical counselor from the OPHP, is offered free to physician members, and takes place the third Wednesday of each month over the typical lunch hour (12:15 – 1 p.m.) Participants will start each session with a brief overview of the discussion topic and then be led through a practical exercise that helps the participant learn through self-exploration and personal awareness. Participants will have the opportunity to share their own insight at the end of the 45-minute program and make connections with their peers who are also interested in wellness and professional satisfaction.
If you have questions about the Wellness Wednesdays program, contact Deputy Executive Vice President Kate Mahler, CAE, or call 800.274.7327.