May is mental health awareness month. Among OB/GYNs who reported burnout in the past year, 82% say they felt burned out before the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the February 2021 Medscape Obstetrician & Gynecologist Lifestyle, Happiness, & Burnout Report.
In addition to supporting the health of patients, clinicians must also manage their own health. Ob Hospitalist Group (OBHG) cares about the well-being of its 1,200+ clinicians, supporting them in many ways through an array of programs and support services.
OBHG’s CARE peer support program
OBHG’s CARE program is a peer support initiative designed to support clinicians who are suffering from the psychological/emotional impact of an unexpected and adverse obstetrical event. Through the CARE (Clinician Assistance. Recovery & Encouragement) program, trained peers support OBHG colleagues in an atmosphere of confidentiality, empathy, trust, and respect in the immediate aftermath of a negative patient care-related event.
The CARE program is designed to address the well-documented concept of the “second victim.” A wide body of research has found that when healthcare providers are involved in an unanticipated patient event, a medical error, and/or a patient-related injury, they often feel as though they have failed the patient, second-guessing their clinical skills and knowledge base.
CARE is based on a ‘first responder’ approach: to offer emotional first aid and peer-to-peer wraparound support to clinicians who are suffering vicarious trauma and to help them regain the emotional health and equilibrium necessary to provide expert, empathetic care for patients.
The second victim phenomenon is particularly acute in obstetrics, a practice associated with some of the most wondrous moments in families’ lives. Most deliveries are joyful ones, and clinicians go home at the end of the day with a sense of pride, deriving meaning from their professional lives. But unfortunately, that is not always the case – and obstetrics is one of the few practices in which clinical detachment is impossible to practice all the time.
An estimated 65 percent of clinicians experiencing vicarious trauma deal with it alone, having trouble sleeping, flashbacks, a loss of confidence in their professional abilities, dread, overwhelming grief, burnout, and depression. Some choose to stop practicing medicine altogether. CARE reflects OBHG’s culture of open communication, transparency, and commitment to reporting and sharing patient safety events.
OBHG Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
If the needs of a colleague are more complex and/or exceed the knowledge and resources of the trained peer CARE giver, additional EAP experts, highly trained in specialty care, are available to support the clinician in recovery. OBHG clinicians may utilize the service without the risk of losing the protection of data confidentiality or fearing discovery in the case of potential litigation.
OBHG also supports clinicians through its Ob Exchange platform. Ob Exchange is OBHG’s secure, collaborative platform that delivers professional connections, collaboration, and community support. Ob Exchange provides spaces where physicians can share protocols with large groups and with smaller, private groups so they can have peer-to-peer discussions.
Additional health and wellness resources
OBHG clinicians can also access a health and wellness platform offering on-demand and live videos spanning health and wellness subjects, and a new app that focuses on mental fitness. Additional wellness benefits include programs available to clinicians enrolled in one of OBHG’s medical plans.
Even the most seasoned physicians and health care workers can experience anxiety and feel overwhelmed at times. OBHG is committed to focusing on strategies and resources that clinicians can use to manage their well-being, while also caring for patients.