A culture that propagates so much physical and mental illness affects those who care for them as well. Many health care providers are working in a production-driven, bottom line model of care, not conducive to the connection, attunement and relationships necessary for effective treatment and excellent, sustainable care.
Health care providers working long shifts while overworked and under-supported are expected to consistently provide high quality care, make important decisions in a state of exhaustion, and care for people in crisis. Ongoing staffing shortages mean there are no breaks, and no time to connect with coworkers, or to process difficult emotions.
Often “shutting down emotions” is considered an effective strategy to handle to handle the work of being a health-care provider. This may be why health care professionals experience alarming rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, PTSD, drug and alcohol dependency, and burnout.
The answer: reframing self-care as a commitment to what is meaningful to you, and building skills to stay present with and attuned to each individual patient in a health care system that is not supportive of authentic connections. When health care is your career, your commitment to your own well-being is essential to providing sustainable and high quality care to your patients.