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Michigan Medicine launches effort to make wellness a cultural norm


 

EXPERT ANALYSIS FROM THE TRIOLOGICAL CSM

Another goal of the office is to improve the overall workplace environment and experience of Michigan Medicine’s faculty, staff, and learners. “You’re not going to have a well workplace if people are not treating each other with respect,” she said at the meeting, jointly sponsored by the Triological Society and the American College of Surgeons. “One of the many challenges is that there is great stigma in our profession for those who are suffering from mental health challenges such as stress, anxiety, depression, and perhaps substance abuse. We need to reduce the stigma, because it’s very dangerous if people who are struggling are unwilling to seek help. We don’t ask people that we supervise or work with how they’re doing, so we have adopted an optional wellness check-in that is incorporated into mid-year and annual evaluations for faculty, staff, and learners to enable leaders to address any challenges that may arise.” In addition, a group of residents is piloting the use of meditation and mindfulness applications such as MoodGym and Headspace to see if they affect resident wellness.

Ultimately, Dr. Bradford and her associates plan to use a standardized benchmark instrument to measure well-being, and include the measure in the institutional performance dashboard. “Administrative burden is a growing problem,” she said. “We’re going to address this for health care professionals, particularly as it relates to the electronic medical record. Our primary care colleagues sometimes spend as many hours outside of clinic documenting as they do in clinic. We want to develop and implement strategies to lessen or remove this burden in order to improve provider efficiency and satisfaction.”

In the course of helping to develop the wellness initiative, Dr. Bradford said that she learned the importance of addressing moral distress in the workplace. “We sort of lose our humanity if we don’t show emotion when tragedies happen. There is really good literature around terminal event debriefings, so if somebody dies unexpectedly in the operating room or in the CT scanner, rather than just walking away and pretending nothing happened, we’re supposed to pause and gather, and reflect on the sadness of the loss. Because if we don’t grieve our losses we become more like machines than human beings. It’s important to provide emotional support for all individuals involved.”

She reported having no relevant financial disclosures.

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