To celebrate Global Wellness Day on 10 June, Dr Susan Nicoll – the Chair of the WFSA Wellbeing Committee – emphasises the importance of a healthy anaesthesia workforce
By Dr Susan Nicoll
When asked what wellness means to them, the WFSA Professional Wellbeing Committee replied:
“For me, wellness is having the awareness and courage to listen to my inner compass from moment to moment.”
“Happiness is within yourself, the outside is distracting, feed your own being, enrich the spirit and take care of your body. Speak well of yourself.”
“For me, wellness is a balance between a resilient body, an active mind, and peaceful inner strength”.
We know that the wellness of healthcare workers including anaesthesia providers is integral to the delivery of safe patient care. This is now recognised in the World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva, “I will attend to my own health, wellbeing and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard.”
We also know that the factors needed to maintain and improve wellness are both within and beyond the control of individual anaesthesiologists/anaesthetists.
As individuals, we can choose to commit to behaviours which promote wellness – but our work must also be organised to be manageable and sustainable for the longer term.
We recognise in response to this reality that barriers to wellness are also both within and beyond our control.
Sometimes, when circumstances become overwhelming and we hold on to deliver care, we must remind ourselves of our own needs for the longer term and plan for rest.
In this, we also need the assistance of others to achieve wellness. Our employers, colleges of training and ultimately those who govern – their resources and expectations must align with what is needed to deliver an environment in which wellness is achievable.
Strategies to improve wellness are increasingly recognised as important for the delivery of safe patient care and include not only information about positive wellbeing strategies but also the resources and personnel to manage adversity.
To achieve safe patient care, we need to combine individual responsibility and actions with organisational responsibility and decision-making.
We need to take the next step to improve the wellness of ourselves, the profession of anaesthesiology and anaesthesia globally.
On behalf of the Professional Wellbeing Committee, this Global Wellness Day 2023:
Join the conversation on social media and share your wellbeing tips with the hashtag #GWD2023.
More Information and Resources
- Global Wellness Day website
- The WFSA Global Mentoring Programme connects anaesthesiologists around the world to virtual support partnerships
- Occupational Well-Being of Anaesthesiologists – available in English, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese
- Fight Fatigue campaign resources and fact sheets by The Association of Anaesthetists
- Maslach Burnout Toolkit™ for Medical Personnel – Maslach, C. et al.
- Burnout in Anesthesiology Providers: Shedding Light on a Global Problem – Milenovic M.S., et al.
Title image source: www.istockphoto.com