While a recent CMA survey found that 30% of all Canadian physicians are experiencing burnout, there’s emerging evidence that physicians’ overall mental health can vary widely depending on their area of practice.
Emergency physicians, for example, are three times more likely to report burnout than physicians in other specialties.
“We deal in acute stress situations, we have to be ready to go the minute the shift starts, and we somehow have to be able to decompress the minute the shift ends,” explains Dr. Rodrick Lim, chair of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians’ wellness committee. “It poses unique challenges for ER doctors and we need unique solutions.”
These specific demands mean the wellness supports ER physicians need can look very different from the supports needed by other specialists or family physicians. Tailoring physician wellness programs is an important dimension of the work ahead for the CMA and other medical organizations.
Clearly there’s something different for ER doctors, at the system-level and with the type of work they do, that’s leading to such a high burnout rate amongst the profession. Solutions have to be targeted and specific to the profession to be effective. - Dr. Roderick Lim
To help move the dial on this work, MD Financial Management (MD), in collaboration with the CMA and Scotiabank, is providing $625,000 to Canadian specialty societies to develop wellness supports for physician specialists.
This funding is just the beginning of a larger plan to support Canada’s medical profession, and the latest in a series of contributions through the Scotiabank and CMA 10-year affinity agreement.
The funds will provide much-needed support for research, advocacy, education and training at the following seven national societies:
- Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
- Canadian Association of General Surgeons
- Canadian Association of Pathologists
- Canadian Association of Radiologists
- Canadian Ophthalmological Society
- Canadian Paediatric Society
- Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada
By recognizing the range of challenges physicians face, we can better target the individual and systemic factors that negatively affect physician health. - Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie, CMA vice-president of physician health and wellness
“The health of Canadian physicians is critical to the health of this country as a whole,” said Glen Gowland, executive vice president and head of Global Wealth Management at Scotiabank. “We’re proud to invest in national programs that will have a positive impact on the lives of physicians and the communities they serve.”
MD, the CMA and Scotiabank are committed to working with the physician community, including specialty societies, provincial and territorial medical associations, affiliates and other key collaborators to address physician burnout, and to provide positive support for the medical profession.
Additional announcements on physician wellness are expected throughout 2019.