How can doctors become more resilient and thus hopefully also better able to care for their patients?
This is the subject of a new book, First Do No Harm: Being a Resilient Doctor in the 21st Century (McGraw-Hill Australia), by two prominent GPs and academics, Leanne Rowe and Michael Kidd.
It was released last September, but I have only just come across it thanks to an interesting excerpt in the 15 January issue of Australian Doctor.
Rowe runs a medical practice that treats doctors in Melbourne and is deputy chancellor of Melbourne University, while Kidd is executive dean of health sciences at Flinders University. Both have a long history of involvement with the RACGP.
The book reframes the traditional ethical duty of “first do no harm”, arguing that it should apply not only to patients, but also to doctors themselves in protecting their own wellbeing and that of their colleagues, families and environment.
The book covers issues such as relationships (with family, friends, colleagues, patients and the practitioner’s own doctor), and how to deal with a personal crisis. It also lists eight principles for resilient doctors.
It seems from the Australian Doctor article that these include:
• make home a sanctuary
• value strong relationships
• have annual preventive health assessments
• control stress, not people
• recognise conflict as an opportunity
• manage bullying and violence assertively
• make our medical organisations work for us
• create a legacy.
The authors write: “If we are going to be effective medical practitioners providing care to each of our patients and contributing to healthier and stronger communities, we must not only avoid inadvertently harming ourselves, but also be proactive in building our resilience. We must learn about the true meaning of healing.”
Sounds like an interesting book, for students and educators, as well as practitioners.