Book Recomendation: Iron Doc by Mamta Gautam, MD

I became aware of this book last week through one of the anesthesia residents at work (whose chairman made this book required reading for all residents in his department).  Dr. Gautam is a psychiatrist who has specialized in caring for physicians and is an expert in physician wellness.  She uses training for an Ironman triathalon as an analogy.  Physicians have to “train” for different roles (personal and professional) if we want to prevent burnout.  She proposes a training program that helps keep balance in the complicated life of a doctor. The book primarily addresses physicians already in practice, but the information is very applicable to trainees, as well.

Here’s her website if you are interested:

Physician wellness: a missing quality indicator – Lancet. 2009 Nov 14;374(9702):1714-21

This is an excellent review of the topic.  They also describe a model for intervention and – most importantly – make the case that caring about physician wellness is important for patients.  This is an article that will help anyone making an argument to improve the workplace for physicians.

Lancet. 2009 Nov 14;374(9702):1714-21.

Physician wellness: a missing quality indicator.

Wallace JE, Lemaire JB, Ghali WA.

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

When physicians are unwell, the performance of health-care systems can be suboptimum. Physician wellness might not only benefit the individual physician, it could also be vital to the delivery of high-quality health care. We review the work stresses faced by physicians, the barriers to attending to wellness, and the consequences of unwell physicians to the individual and to health-care systems. We show that health systems should routinely measure physician wellness, and discuss the challenges associated with implementation.

PMID: 19914516 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]