The Expanding Scope of Clinician Well-Being

Cardiology Magazine Image

In the past weeks, our world has turned upside down. We are witnessing a surge of pressure on health care systems and challenges in our home practices and institutions.

There are daily stories of health care providers going into battle without proper protective equipment and being deluged by the number of patients, sickness, deaths and unknowns.

While the ACC continues to be a leader in the efforts to help health care providers with burnout, these unprecedented times risk increased stress, which may lead to adverse mental health conditions.

ACC is committed to the well-being of its members and continues to invest in helping you during one of the biggest challenges in our lifetimes.

Your ability to stay resilient for your patients and the teams you lead during the long days and months of this pandemic requires attention to your stress level and your well-being.

The below graph is used frequently in burnout literature and has become even more relevant in the COVID-19 era. There is "eustress" that we strive to stay within.

However, if we don't, sliding down the slope to "breakdown, burnout and ill health" can quickly sneak up on us and it is hard to go back up the incline (but not impossible).

Cardiology Magazine Image Reference: Robert Mearns Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson, Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology (1908).

Attention to your health is critical, including focusing on basic needs such as drinking fluids, sleeping, staying connected with family and friends, and reaching out to your network at ACC. It also draws upon skills learned earlier in our efforts to combat burnout in medicine – as these may be even more important than ever.

We want to highlight the likelihood that this pandemic, its unknowns, devastation and chronicity will challenge our resilience. We must be aware of potential mental health symptoms in ourselves and our colleagues.

To support your efforts, ACC has added a section on its COVID-19 Hub, dedicated to your well-being. Resources have been collected from our members and developed in partnership with our member leaders.

Cardiology Magazine Image

These include:

The gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the entire health care community will undoubtedly challenge our workforce in unexpected ways for years to come. ACC stands by its members as they address the immediate challenges of today and seeks to build leaders for the changing tomorrow.

We encourage you to practice compassion and self-compassion in the coming months. Future generations of cardiovascular professions are looking to you light the way.

As we build out this resource center, we want to know how we can help support your well-being.

Email your ideas and requests to memberengage@acc.org.

Cardiology Magazine Image
Cardiology Magazine Image

Laxmi Mehta, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist at The Ohio State University. Dr. Mehta is chair of the ACC's Board of Trustees Task Force on Clinician Well-Being. Ranna Parekh, MD, MPH, is ACC's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and a practicing psychiatrist. Dr. Parekh holds faculty appointments at George Washington School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Clinical Topics: Prevention, Stress

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Coronavirus Infections, Empathy, Mental Health, Friends, Pandemics, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Anxiety, Burnout, Professional, Adaptation, Psychological, Health Personnel, Attention, Protective Devices, Respiratory Protective Devices


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