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Doctors for Doctors

Doctors for Doctors – help when you need it

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality of the resident physician interviewed for this story.

“It’s really common to feel stressed out during residency. One common theme is the question of competence. That’s a big thing in residency, not feeling like you’re ever good enough.”

In his final year of residency, Dr Smith* was struggling. He felt vulnerable, pressured to soak up as much knowledge as possible, constantly questioned whether he was good enough and worried that he wouldn’t pass his rotation. Combined with additional stress he was experiencing in his personal life, it all became too much – too overwhelming which led to feelings of anxiety.

“I would say that probably all residents feel this way to some degree. Not everybody talks about it, and people deal with it in different ways.”

To help him address his anxiety, Dr Smith contacted the Physician Health Program (PHP) offered through Doctors of BC. The PHP provides professional counselling and medical support for physicians at all stages of their careers to help with mental health issues, burnout, relationship stress, workplace conflicts and much more.

Staff at the PHP stepped in to help upon receiving Dr Smith’s call. An intake counsellor listened to his story, set up a series of appointments with a psychologist and psychiatrist, and checked back with him several times. “It was really nice, like coming full circle.” He says the program really helped him get through the tough period, and he’s already recommended it at least three times – that’s how helpful he found the supports to be.

“I think it’s important to recognize that it’s ok if you’re feeling this way, and that there are so many places that will support you, especially as a physician, and that will respect your confidentiality.”

The PHP’s goal is to help you be the best, healthiest and most resilient person you can be – for yourself, for your family and for your patients. It’s available 24/7, all you need to do is call 1-800-663-6729. A clinician is there to help you, and will work with you to set up a plan of action.

Support is available to BC physicians at all stages of their career, as well as their partners and dependent children. And all information shared with the PHP is completely confidential and anonymous.

For more information, click here to access the new Physician Health Program web site.

author: Melissa Nilan