P e r s p e c t i v e s
Make time to
take care of yourself
Don Lane Photo
At the beginning of this
“new year,” consider taking some time to get a status report on
By Dr. Susan King
Here we are, back into fall and back
into familiar routines. Hope you all had a chance to relax and
rejuvenate and are ready for the “new year” that September brings.
I recently returned from the CMA meeting
in Edmonton. A day before leaving I attended Medical Grand Rounds at the
Janeway here in St. John’s. Dr. Vicki Crosbie’s presentation focused on
physician stress and the struggle to balance our personal and
professional lives. One of the points she made was that it seems many of
us, while so used at work to giving orders and making requests that are
acted upon at once, tend to expect the same at home. This expectation,
that I’m sure we all have to a certain degree, isn’t always well
received. I offer this as some food for thought.
Two days later I attended a meeting of the
Physician Health Network, which has representatives from each province.
We again discussed the facts: the profession is getting older; research
shows that the vast majority of us have symptoms of burnout; and, we
usually don’t take as good care of ourselves (or sometimes even our
families) as we do of our patients.
So, at the beginning of this “new year,”
consider taking some time to get a status report on yourself. Do you
feel well? How are you with the basics like getting enough sleep, eating
well and exercise? When was the last time you saw your family doctor for
a “periodic health review?” Do you have a family doctor? If you do, does
that person know that he is your family doctor?
Do you know what your symptoms of stress
are? Often, I’m so busy I don’t get a chance to read the paper; when I
don’t even care that I haven’t been reading the paper I know that I’m
Do you know how to soothe yourself in a
non-maladaptive way? Everyone is different — if you don’t know or have
never thought about what works for you, consider making it a project
this fall to figure it out.
CMA web site worth exploring
While attending the CMA meeting, I
explored how developed the CMA web site has become. One of the benefits
of CMA membership that I had forgotten about is the ability to do online
literature searches through the web site at
cma.ca. The librarian,
Deidre Green, can assist with searches or even do them for you. She can
also answer any library-related queries. This is a valuable and, I
believe, under-utilized service. Ms. Green can be reached at (800)
663-7336 (2255) or
New on the CMA web site is the ability to
develop a web site for your practice. I haven’t done it yet, but did
investigate the possibility with one of the helpful and knowledgeable
CMA staff. It seems very user friendly. Go explore!
Consider a Pap clinic
To the family docs: We know that our
patients are terribly under-screened for cervical cancer and that
Newfoundland and Labrador has a higher than expected incidence and death
rate from cervical cancer. The last week in October is Pap Test
Awareness Week. Have you ever considered doing a Pap clinic? I’m
planning to during that week. It is a good way to promote this
life-saving and under-utilized test. For information or promotional
materials, call the Cervical Screening Initiatives Program office at
Dr. Susan King is a family physician at
the Newfoundland Drive Medical Clinic in St. John’s. Tips and hints may
be emailed to email@example.com.