MSMS Michigan Medicine November December 2022

16 michigan MEDICINE® | Nov / Dec 2022 patients, their practices, and their families. However, some of it is also institutionally driven—by and large, physicians are not provided with consistent and adequate guidance on how to look out for themselves. “Physicians are not trained to look at themselves and say, ‘I need help.’ That’s not where their training is,” says Doctor Mittal. “Their training is, ‘I’m here to help others.’ So, recognizing that the person that needs help is in the mirror is just a very difficult thing for most physicians to do.” For that reason, it is important that colleagues also be on the lookout for early warning signs that a coworker may be struggling. Subtle changes in a colleague’s demeanor, their remarks, or their ability to follow protocols and function well in a team could all be early warning signs that a coworker is struggling and in need of support. “As physicians, we tend to not only minimize our own problems but also the struggles of our colleagues,” says Doctor Mittal. “Too often in medicine when we observe another provider who is clearly struggling, we default to thinking, ‘Well, they’re struggling right now, but they’ll be fine,’ rather than saying, ‘Hey, it seems like you may be burned out. Let’s figure that out, and here’s the next step. Let’s give you a place to go that can actually help you deal with this so you can continue to be the successful and productive physician you want to be.’” SafeHaven™—Safe and Confidential Resources That Can Help Thankfully, that next step is clear for Michigan physicians. Officially launched in the spring of 2021, SafeHaven™ is a comprehensive and completely confidential physician health care provider well-being program, offering physicians, nurses, and health care providers access to a whole host of resources and support services that can help address career fatigue and behavioral health concerns. “Physician burnout has been a growing problem for years now and that’s only been exasperated by the COVID19 pandemic,” says Kevin McFatridge, chief operating officer of MSMS. “The fact is, we need to do a better job of caring for our physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and all health care providers so that they in turn can continue to provide excellent quality care for Michigan’s patients—that’s what SafeHaven™ is all about. Our hope is this resource will go a long way towards relieving our overly burdened provider community and ultimately help them rediscover the meaning, joy, and purpose in practicing medicine.”