JPS Takes Caring for the Caregiver to a New Level

January 18th, 2019

JPS Health Network’s commitment to focus on the well-being of the physicians who work there doesn’t only make life better for the doctors.

It helps patients get the best care possible by putting doctors in a position to reach their maximum potential, according to Glenda Mutinda, Phd., who came on board in November as the health network’s first Director of Interpersonal Well-Being. The word is getting out to the next generation of physicians that JPS is one of the best places in the country for doctors to come to train and work.

“One of the reasons I was drawn to JPS is because it is so progressive on the issue of provider wellness,” said Mutinda. “There are very few health institutions in the whole country that even have a position like mine. JPS is really out front when it comes to the issue of caring for the caregiver.”

Mutinda’s position was created specifically for the purpose of making sure physicians have the resources they need to keep their minds in the right place and perform their best.

“The idea is to create a culture where providers don’t become burned out,” Mutinda said. “Once they reach that point of being burned out, it’s much more difficult to bring them back than it would be to prevent them from becoming burned out in the first place.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, burnout is an accumulation of workplace-related stress that causes a state of physical and/or emotional exhaustion. It often includes a reduced sense of accomplishment and a loss of personal identity. Burnout is especially prevalent in the high-stress world of medicine. According to WebMD.com, doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession in the United States with up to 40 of every 100,000 physicians taking their own life. The rate of suicide in the general population is 12.3 percent.

Job Burnout Symptoms

 

Why do physicians get burned out?

  • Too heavy of a patient load
  • Not enough downtime, long hours
  • Feeling like they don’t have a say in the way their institution is managed
  • The weight that comes from making decisions with their patient’s life hanging in the balance
  • An unwritten code that doctors can’t show their emotions or share their problems

According to Mutinda, these problems have only worsened in the last decade because an increased availability of healthcare insurance to the masses has created an influx of new patients in the market for healthcare services. While it’s great more people have access to healthcare, the number of doctors hasn’t increased – it has actually shrunk a little bit. So, fewer people have to carry a much heavier load.

While there isn’t anything that can be done to reduce the number of patients who need care, Mutinda said it’s up to healthcare organizations to create a culture where physicians aren’t asked to carry an unbearable burden.

“The whole person has to be considered,” Mutinda said. “It’s important to manage their workload, but also to help them with their mental and physical fitness.”

Mandatory rounding with residents to check on their state of mind, involvement of Spiritual Care staff in workplace wellness efforts and the offering of healthy activities like yoga have already been put in place at the health network.

Jeffrey Christie, Director of the Employee Assistance Program at JPS, said he’s excited about Mutinda’s arrival because she is creating more structure to existing employee wellness efforts.

“I am very much a believer that we need to take the discoveries we’re making about residents’ well-being and develop then in a research structure,” Christie said. “What we know is that many healthcare professionals network and we already have examples of ways our initiatives have attracted dedicated healthcare professionals to JPS.”

Mutinda said JPS is already off to a good start in providing care to the caregivers who work there. She looks forward to taking the effort to the next level and helping the health network continue to build its reputation among healthcare professionals as a great place to work – and to live.

 

 


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