Fall 2005

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 yourself.

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 overwhelmed.

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 deidre.green@cma.ca.

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 (866) 643-8719.

Dr. Susan King is a family physician at the Newfoundland Drive Medical Clinic in St. John’s. Tips and hints may be emailed to nexus@nlma.nl.ca.



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Nexus is published quarterly for Newfoundland and Labrador's physicians. It is a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and information for members.