This week Dr Sammy Batt-Rawden, DAUK Co-Founder chaired a panel at the Royal College of Physicians on Wellbeing in the Workforce. Sammy’s guests included Dr Emma Vaux, Vice-President of training and education at the RCP, Alexandra Adams, a medical student who is deaf-blind who spoke alongside Sammy at TEDxNHS and Amandip Singh, founder of Doctors in Distress.
The ‘meet your medical minds’ panel is the first of several live-streams from the RCP in the run up to Medicine 2020, where Sammy will giving a keynote speech and joining a panel with Clare Gerada and Chris Turner (Civility Saves).
The panel covered a number of topics, including whether resilience training and wellness initiatives were fit for purpose, and how much responsibility should lie with the system rather than the individual.
Speaking on resilience Sammy said:
“It seems to have become a badge of honour for medics, in fact all healthcare staff, to say “I’m fine, things are really tough but I’m fine”. I think a lot of people are too frighted to put their hand up and say you know what I am finding this really tough. And I think the problem comes when everybody, including your seniors say ”I’m fine” and that makes it even harder to say you know what I’m not ok.
“I do worry that we’ve moved to individual resilience instead resilience being a team sport. if you put the emphasis on individuals I would worry that that negates the duty for the system to change.
“We do need a culture shift. We need to be able to talk about the fact that our jobs are hard, and getting harder by the day.
“Burnout is common, and we need to talk about it. We know this is happening, and the more people talk about it the more normal it will become.
“One of the positives of social media is that we now have these huge Facebook groups for doctors, some with 20 thousand doctors in. Part of the problem is we’ve lost our physical spaces. Before you would go to the doctors’ mess. When I was an FY1 you could just go to the mess, there would always be someone there. You could grab a coffee, a bit of toast, and just say do you know what I’ve just had this really awful experience or I’m just having a really rubbish day, can I just have chat? You could offload and the camaderie was there because we were all going through the same thing. We’ve really suffered from the loss of those physical spaces.
Watch the video of the panel below.