I am mindful that physician burnout is a serious problem today. It leads to loss of empathy and fatigue, errors and poorer quality of care.
The causes of burnout are varied and complex. We throw blame at hospitals, paperwork, patients, compensation, technology, responsibility. None of them alone are enough. Neither is it merely a matter of personal resilience. The pressure of our work weighs on us daily in the administration of medicine, but also in clinical care itself. When patients experience loss, death, grief, injury, suffering or barriers to access, we feel it too. These losses are especially difficult when related to systems issues such as overcrowding, poverty, or wait times. We cannot give up empathy, but rather we must use it to inspire change in the system.
First, we create a safe space. I promote a culture of honest conversation and open feeling. Burnout is not a sign of weakness. We must encourage doctors to reach out, recognizing symptoms in themselves. Formal and informal support networks should abound. Relief comes with time for reflection and self care.
I will support communities of interest to keep specific passions alive, driving meaning in our work. We need to remember and recreate that awe of our first weeks of medical school, reconnecting with the human part of medicine to find joy.
Advocacy fights burnout. Joining together in a common cause of improving our cherished health system will buoy us up. I would bring innovation and creativity to CMA, making us stronger. There is much that is good to build upon.
Can CMA Association fix every problem? Not all. But as a collective voice for 85,000 physicians it has tremendous influence. We need a bold modern leader to head it. This is what I bring to the table in running!