With Memorial Day officially behind us, the summer of 2022 is in full swing. Like many of you, I am hopeful that the next few months bring opportunities for time outdoors, enjoying the company of friends and family and soaking up warmer, longer days.
Now that we are more than two years out from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am also hopeful that this summer brings about some rest for us physicians in particular. While no one ever said being a physician would be ‘easy,’ I would be hard pressed to identify a more challenging time to be in our position than the last 27 months. The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our profession and brought a number of issues to the surface. And unfortunately, when you’re a doctor, what happens at work doesn’t always stay at work. These challenges tend to bleed over into all aspects of our life, increasing our stress and leading to feelings of burnout more than ever before.
Thankfully, our KMA recognized this, and in 2021 introduced a new member benefit, the “Be Well. Stay Well. Physician Health Program,” which provides up to six free therapy sessions for member physicians in rural areas with a licensed therapist through The Woodland Group of Lexington. Similar programs have been rolled out by other county medical societies around the state and have proven successful. These very professional and confidential consults can be invaluable to our personal and professional well being.
While we’ve had a number of physicians take advantage of this program since it was introduced, my hope is that more will. With more physicians choosing to leave the profession than ever before (according to the AMA, 3,272 physicians in direct patient care exited the workforce between the start of 2019 and the fall of 2021), we must take care of ourselves so we can continue to care for our patients. We are better physicians when we are healthy physicians.
If you are interested in taking advantage of the Be Well. Stay Well. Physician Health Program, please confirm your KMA membership status at members.kyma.org. More information about the program, as well as contact information for The Woodland Group, is available at kyma.org/BeWellStayWellPHP.
KMA is also in the planning stages of conducting a survey of its membership that will cover several topic areas. I would ask when the time comes that you will share any concerns and ideas with us through that survey so we can continue to offer meaningful benefits and bring value to Kentucky physicians.
Thank you for being a KMA member, and for caring for the health of your patients. I hope that you will let this summer season remind you to take the time to care for yourself, as well.