Peer Support for Physicians: Why You Need It and Where to Find It

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peer support groupThere are so many stressors included in the day to day work of a physician. Being responsible for making critical decisions, losing patients, long hours, limited resources, and managing support staff are just a few of the things that weigh heavy on physicians’ minds. It is easy to feel isolated and anxious, often without anyone in immediate contact who understands what goes on in the course of your day. Finding peer support is important for all physicians to help handle feelings of stress, anxiety, and a range of other emotions.

How Can Peer Support Help?

Whether you are dealing with a range of difficult emotions from the stress of daily practice or you have recently had a traumatic experience, finding a peer support group can help you to overcome mental challenges and get back to performing at the top of your game. By talking with a trusted peer or group of peers, who understand what you are going through, you can remove the feelings of isolation and work out the problems and feelings that are holding you back. This can help to reduce anxiety, prevent burnout, and improve the quality of your life both at work and outside the office.

Those within a peer support network are also medical professionals who understand exactly what you are dealing with and many have experienced similar traumas and emotions, themselves. Others in the medical field understand the perfectionism and standards that you work hard to keep. Unlike talking to a spouse, friend, or another confidante, they have a similar mindset. This allows them to provide applicable advice or simply a nod of understanding as you talk about your worries and anxieties. That understanding can help you to open up and begin to work through issues that you had kept hidden from others before.

Where Can You Find Peer Support?

Many professional organizations offer peer support to their staff or members. Search their websites or call to request information on where there is a support group or similar resource in your area. Some hospitals also offer support services to their staff and network-affiliated physicians. The human resources department will be able to point you in the right direction. If you are unable to locate an organization or service that can meet this need, reach out to a trusted colleague or two and work together to create a peer support network within your area.

Though the medical field is a rewarding career choice, it does come with its share of struggles. Overcoming these difficulties will help you to provide better care to your patients as you will be prioritizing the care of yourself. By finding a trustworthy support system, you will be better equipped to deal with the stressors and traumas that you will undoubtedly face in your line of work. Solid peer support can help you to be not only a better healthcare provider but a healthier and happier person overall.

 

 

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