What is resilience?

“Resilience is a dynamic, evolving process of positive attitudes and effective strategies” (Jensen et al., 2008)

Gaining resilience decreases psychological distress. Without resilience our state of being is subject to burnout. Burnout is a common response to chronic emotional stressors related to work experiences. Compassion fatigue is a type of burnout, particularly evident among health care professionals.

This experience is associated with reduced job performance, reduced commitment, psychological distress, and low career satisfaction. It has significant importance due to the potential implications on patient care, medical professionalism, the safety and wellbeing of the doctor and those close to him/her, and the sustainability of the health care system.

A recent report by Beyond Blue indicated that doctors and medical students experienced significantly higher rates of psychological distress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and attempted suicide, compared to the Australian population and other Australian professionals. This was independent of specialty or training stage and was especially evident in females, those under 30 year old, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, and those in rural and remote locations.

Despite the high level of psychological stress documented from medical students through to consultants, there have been few interventions implemented to address this issue and outcome measures for such programs are scarce. The programs which have already been successfully implemented internationally in the medical field consist of Mindfulness training combined with communication exercises and role playing scenarios.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) has asked Dr Ira van der Steenstraten to develop and deliver a health and wellbeing training program specifically for doctors. This program is called 'Resilience on the Run'. The aim of this program is: to improve awareness of stress and workplace pressure on doctors and the potential mental health consequences of this stress; to improve awareness and mindfulness; better managing interpersonal relationships, navigating difficult scenarios on the job and to investigate and implement lifelong strategies to deal with stressors and prevent burnout of doctors.

By enabling participants to develop the skills to cope with and to overcome stress they can develop ongoing resilience.
For more information about the program "Resilience on the Run' click here.



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