A more caring workplace for health professionals can save lives – of patients and of doctors

A more caring workplace for health professionals can save lives – of patients and of doctors

With doctors twice as likely to die of suicide than the population average, three key changes are urgently needed. The year is already underway, and speaking engagement offers are pouring in, many from colleges and universities. Come in and discuss your medical career with us. Tell us the truth about it. The students are as daydreamy as I used to be. The faculty are cautious and anxious to make sure I am aware of the difficulties facing their students, who view becoming a doctor as the highest badge of honour. I remind the kids to read extensively and to be polite when I hear them say, "I just want to be a brain surgeon," in elementary schools. I advise high school students to separate course selection from their sense of worth. I counsel pre-med students to consider their decision carefully about whether medicine is truly "it," and I find it puzzling. There are several ways to create a better healthcare workforce for the future:

  • Emphasize interprofessional education: Interprofessional education (IPE) involves bringing together students from different healthcare disciplines to learn about and from each other. This can help break down silos and improve collaboration among healthcare providers.
  • Increase investment in training and education: Healthcare is a rapidly changing field, and providers need ongoing training and education to keep up with new developments. Governments and healthcare organizations should invest in training programs, continuing education, and professional development for healthcare workers.
  • Focus on diversity and inclusion: The healthcare workforce should reflect the diversity of the communities it serves. This means recruiting and retaining healthcare workers from a range of backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.
  • Encourage innovation: Healthcare is a field ripe for innovation, and providers need to be prepared to adapt to new technologies and approaches. Encouraging a culture of innovation within healthcare organizations can help foster this adaptability.
  • Prioritize wellness and resilience: Healthcare providers are at high risk for burnout and other mental health issues. Organizations should prioritize the wellness and resilience of their workforce, providing resources for stress management, mental health support, and work-life balance.

By implementing these strategies, we can create a better healthcare workforce for the future that is more collaborative, adaptable, and inclusive, and that prioritizes the well-being of its providers.

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