The article Burnout: Modern Affliction or Human Condition has stuck with me long after reading. The Mayo Clinic calls burnout “…a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Similarly, the article There is a name for the blah that you are feeling: Its called languishing has become a favorite of texts between friends, email chains, and informal virtual self-help clubs that have popped up because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Author Adam Grant writes, “…research suggests that the people most likely to experience major depression and anxiety disorders in the next decade aren’t the ones with those symptoms today. They’re the people who are languishing right now. And new evidence from pandemic health care workers in Italy shows that those who were languishing in the spring of 2020 were three times more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
What if we thought of mental health as we think of diabetes or heart disease? We have evidence of a condition like pre-diabetes, a place where we can intervene to avoid an eventual diagnosis. We cannot tout ‘whole person care’ as our goal and continue to work within siloed health care systems just as we can’t allow ourselves to move back into comfortable norms and not recognize valuable lessons learned from the past year.
Our Obstetrical COAP Annual Meeting coming up soon on June 10th from 8:00 – 3:00pm will include a talk by Dr. Pat O’Brien with University College London Hospitals and Jeannine Acantilado Wolinsky RN, MSN, MBA with Elan Consulting Services about how to address burnout by focusing on care providers as an essential element for quality improvement and patient safety. Register here
We also know that The other side of languishing is flourishing – and that we can build systems where providers and patients can flourish – but we need to be able to talk about our symptoms, name and normalize.
Ginny Weir, MPH, CEO, Foundation for Health Care Quality
Amy Etzel, Implementation Manager, Bree Collaborative