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First Do No Self HarmUnderstanding and Promoting Physician Stress Resilience$
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Charles Figley, Peter Huggard, and Charlotte Rees

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383263.001.0001

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Psychiatrists in Distress

Psychiatrists in Distress

When Work becomes a Problem

Chapter:
(p.319) 20 Psychiatrists in Distress
Source:
First Do No Self Harm
Author(s):

Shailesh Kumar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383263.003.0020

The author discusses his career as a psychiatrist in this chapter. He notes that throughout his career he has seen the problems of physicians placing their work ahead of family and friends and having a life, even though some saw themselves as role models. Psychiatrists, like other physicians working in the Hippocratic tradition, place their patients first. Sometimes physicians act on emotions they do not fully understand, and this is a reflection of their need to rescue, not just treat, patients. As a result physicians experience a sense of failure when their patient's illness goes unaffected by their treatment program. These physicians often feel powerlessness, a sense of loss, grief, and fear of becoming ill themselves, or they make efforts to wall themselves off from patients and their families, thereby reducing their effectiveness. The author offers some suggestions to avoid this and other pitfalls.

Keywords:   physician stress, work/home balance, detachment, compassion fatigue, burnout, coping strategies

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