Physician Thriving: We See You

By Hilary McClafferty, MD, FAAP

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a cascade of chaos and suffering on a level previously unseen by this generation. This has impacted physicians in both visible and invisible ways. The visible are obvious; images of colleagues in full protective gear swabbing, intubating, and managing critical patients make it easy to appreciate how far from normal we truly are. The pictures are shocking and humbling, leaving indelible imprints in our collective psyche and raising awareness of the courage, the integrity, the heroism present in each of you working in medicine today.

The invisible impacts worry me more. How will we process the sheer volume of this catastrophe, the mass of humanity needing help, the palpable anxiety, the grief and defeat of losing a patient? What about the lingering worry and guilt of potential exposures of our own families, other patients, our staff? There will be much work to be done and we will need to look out for each other as we move forward together.

The uncertainty in these days is high, the fear potent, the stakes serious. How do you keep going? Clarity of insight often comes into sharp focus at times like this. Here is a critical moment to ask yourself, “Why do I do what I do?” You may reference the familiar internal call to serve; you took the oath, step up when needed. You may understand that few, in fact, have the training and skill to do what you do. You may need time to distill a clear answer. Take it.

There are important lessons available to you now. Learn, adapt, and make the changes that need to be made. Don’t hesitate. You know what to do. And it is worth identifying the fundamental values supporting your actions. Here are your super-strengths, the pillars that define your true north. Harness them with purpose.  To help you, apply the mindfulness skills you have been cultivating. Practice daily, or moment-to-moment. Choose to move through the chaos mindfully, with compassion for all involved. The world needs your steadiness, your wisdom, your vision.

I hope that you recognize your incredible value. You are uniquely equipped to rally to this moment, and all those that will follow, with intelligence, grit, heart, and determination. The fact is that each of you working in medicine already were extraordinary, the difference is that now everyone in the world knows it.

 

Hilary McClafferty, MD, FAAP, is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, and integrative medicine. She writes and speaks nationally on physician wellbeing, resiliency, and whole physician wellness. She is a member of the International Coach Federation, certified physician coach, certified in Positive Psychology and Well-Being Coaching, and author of two books: Mind-Body Medicine in Clinical Practice and Integrative Pediatrics: Art, Science, and Clinical Application, and editor of three Special Editions on the use of integrative medicine in practice. She is Founding Director of the Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Residency program, University of Arizona, and Medical Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Tucson Medical Center, Tucson, AZ.

Email: mcclaffertyh@gmail.com       Website: www.drmcclafferty.com       Twitter: @drmcclafferty

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine