York County Medicine Winter 2020 - 16

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

FEATURE:

From the Medical Director:
Update on Burnout/Stress
Related to COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Edwin Kim, MD, MRO

I

am grateful to connect with counselors, therapists,
psychologists and psychiatrists across Pennsylvania. These
clinicians have expressed their strong interest in helping
physicians and medical workers cope with the stresses related to
the pandemic, as well as the ongoing burden of workplace-related
burnout.
Most have adopted telemedicine into their practice in order
to broaden their therapeutic reach during these times. And I am
glad the Physicians' Health Program has the foresight to build this
referral for Pennsylvania doctors and staff because there is growing
evidence and confirmation of problematic mood, anxiety and
substance use rising during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our colleagues at the Ontario Medical Association Physician
Health Program collaborated with University of Toronto
researchers to characterize the impact of pandemic on health care
workers. The preliminary results demonstrate that indeed women
health care workers are at increased risk for stress, depression and
burnout. Unsurprisingly, they noted various factors that exist at
the individual, organizational and system level that contributed
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York County Medicine | W I N T E R 2020/2021

to negative outcomes in these women. This study reaffirms the
widespread belief that we must prioritize physician health and
well-being.
For leadership and employers interested in promoting
employee health in the workplace, I invite you to view the
webinar, " A Physical and Psychosocial Response for a PostCOVID-19 Workplace, " which is available on the Foundation's
website at www.foundationpamedsoc.org/physicians-healthprogram/physician-burnout-resources. This guide highlights
the components of a holistic and humanistic approach to your
employees' health.
While organizational change can inherently take time to
implement, I encourage individuals to take steps to fortify their
own mental health as well. My primary suggestion for individuals
is to focus on their innate ability to overcome stressful times,
and to recognize their strength when facing ongoing adversity,
trauma, tragedy, threats and significant sources of stress. In essence,
individuals can focus on what psychologists describe as resilience.


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York County Medicine Winter 2020

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