Putting physicians first: Empowering physician wellness through innovative education
Understanding the pivotal role that education plays in enhancing physician wellness, The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) recognized an urgent need for change.
With the support of funding* from the Canadian Medical Association, MD Financial Management and Scotiabank, CFPC accelerated programs that prioritize the well-being of physicians, foster their professional growth and provide them with valuable support systems and resources.
These initiatives address the lack of relevant resources for physicians and empower them to deliver high-quality patient care — and in turn drive positive change across the Canadian health care system. Through these programs, CFPC is providing physicians with tools to help themselves combat burnout, isolation and other common issues arising from the demanding nature of their work, including long working hours and emotional stress.
Dr. Victor Ng, program lead/director at CFPC, has played a pivotal role in bringing these transformative programs to life on a broader scale. “We want our members to have rewarding careers, and part of that is ensuring that we support them both personally and professionally,” Dr. Ng explains. “Affinity funding has allowed CFPC to introduce programs that reinforce physician wellness and physician health, ensuring that our more than forty thousand members are really supported.”
Dr. Farid Kakavand facilitates CFPC’s Physician Wellness Small Group Learning Program. As a physician, Dr. Kakavand understands the need for supportive environments where physicians can openly address the pressures they face and find solace in shared experiences. “Most primary care providers are overworked because they have so many patients to see,” Dr. Kakavand explains. “If a physician goes on vacation, when they come back they’re faced with double the number of patients in one single day. When the workload increases, you become emotionally drained, and when you're numb to the situation, you won't be able to relate to your patients’ pain.” These supportive environments provide a safe space for physicians to connect, discuss burnout-related challenges and learn from one another, creating a network of support that helps combat isolation. Physicians also gain access to resources and tools that enable them to establish healthy boundaries and effectively problem-solve, further helping them navigate challenges as they arise.
Dr. Kakavand regards CFPC’s programs as uniquely innovative because they educate physicians on their own well-being, rather than solely focusing on patient care. "Most of the programs that I have been part of have been traditionally educational. How to teach a patient. How not to miss a diagnosis. This is the only program where I felt I'm reflecting on my own health," explains Dr. Kakavand. This distinct approach prompts physicians to engage in self-reflection, acknowledging the critical role it plays in their ability to provide quality patient care.
Education and peer support act as powerful tools in equipping physicians with the skills necessary to navigate the complexities of their profession while preserving their well-being. “Part of the benefit of the small group teaching is to give them tools and techniques they can refer back to while they're in practice,” Dr. Ng explains. By placing education and peer support at the forefront, CFPC is empowering physicians to beat the odds, prioritize wellness and drive positive change within the medical profession.
Thanks to the transformative support of Affinity funding, CFPC is actively cultivating a resilient future for Canada's physicians, ultimately benefiting patients and Canadians through a ripple effect of positive change nationwide.
*Together the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), MD Financial Management Inc. (MD) and Scotiabank are firmly committed to supporting the medical profession and advancing health in Canada. As proof of this commitment, we have formed an Affinity partnership through which we are investing $115 million to support physicians and the communities they serve across Canada.
In addition to the Physician Wellness Small Group Learning Program, thanks to Affinity funding the CFPC has accelerated other impactful programs, including the Physician Wellness and Resiliency Continuing Professional Development Initiatives, the Physician Wellness and Resiliency Member Interest Group, the Physician Wellness and Resiliency Advocacy Initiatives, and the Physician Wellness and Resiliency Retreat. These initiatives prioritize physician well-being and drive positive change in the medical profession.
MD Financial Management provides financial products and services, the MD Family of Funds and investment counselling services through the MD Group of Companies and Scotia Wealth Insurance Services Inc. For a detailed list of these companies, visit md.ca and visit scotiawealthmanagement.com for more information on Scotia Wealth Insurance Services Inc. The trademarks of the Canadian Medical Association are registered and used under licence. The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank®) provides banking and credit products and services. Visit scotiabank.com. ® Registered trademarks of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used under licence.