York County Medicine Winter 2019 - 22

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

Maintaining Resiliency for
the Emerging Physician
By Allie Kochert, MA, LPC

Y

ou're coming out of years and years of schooling and
residency, you're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and you
are ready to take on the world of medicine, help patients,
and have (finally!) some quality of life. Yet you also have seen
what years in practice can do to someone-everybody knows that
doctor that has been one-too-many years in practice with too
few vacations or too little rest and recovery, that doctor that is
irritable, difficult to work with, and their stress infects the whole
unit.
You don't see yourself as that doctor one day...but what
are you doing today to help prevent becoming a shell of a
person, fifteen, twenty, thirty years in? You want to be ready for
retirement one day, leaving behind a career you're proud of and
one that sustained you not just as a doctor but as a whole human
being.

What is Resiliency and Why Does it Matter?
Resiliency is a word that can be thrown around carelessly, but
getting down to it, if we aren't resilient in our career and life, then
we are at major risk for becoming burned out. Because of your
work in helping and healing, physicians are at risk for burnout,
compassion fatigue and secondary trauma and stress-some
specialties more than others. When we focus on how to maintain
resiliency, we are able to protect ourselves from everyday work
stressors and be able to over time grow, change and thrive in
practice.

Steps You Can Take Today
There are steps you can take, starting today, that will help you
maintain sanity, preserve your energy and be not only the best
physician you can be but also the best person you can. Check out
some tips to help maintain resiliency, preserve your power, and
garner your grit-so thirty years from now, you'll still be thriving
and kicking butt!

22

York County Medicine | WINTER 2019

1

Notice Your Bodily Cues

Check in with your body every day, multiple times a day.
Notice whether there is fatigue, or stress, and how it affects you
physically. Are your stomach or shoulders tense? Do you have a
mild headache or feel antsy? Cortisol can do a number on our
bodies when our sympathetic nervous system is triggered daily.
When we start becoming aware of how it affects our bodies, then
we can start intervening before we become sick.
2

Mindfulness Matters

Start a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is defined as
moment-to-moment, non-judgmental attention. If you're new
to this, start small. Pause and notice how the coffee tastes as you
down it in the morning. Or take a moment in the shower, be
attentive to where your thoughts are (planning the meeting later?
writing the email you need to send?), and bring those thoughts
back to the moment. Mindfulness is a muscle that needs exercise;
it is proven with regular use to reduce stress and anxiety. There
are awesome apps out there too to help keep mindfulness close at
hand.
3

Make Breaks A Habit

Take short breaks during the day, ideally outside. We are
becoming aware these days of the importance of nature in
medicine and healing-just notice how hospitals and rehabs are
built now with fountains and facing green spaces, or the natural
colors that are used in doctors' offices. Take a meeting outside or
eat your lunch under a tree. There are proven rejuvenating effects
of seeing naturalistic surroundings, of taking in the scents and
breeze, of sunshine. Not only are they healthy for mind and body,
these activities can help re-set you and energize you more than
any double espresso.


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York County Medicine Winter 2019

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/ycm_summer18
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