Physicians and advanced practice providers are key partners in the provision of care to Wapiti’s rural hospitals and clinics.
A recent article from Staffing Industry Analysts on October 9, 2022, cited alarming statistics from a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to 26,174 public healthcare workers in March and April 2021. https://www2.staffingindustry.com/Editorial/Healthcare-Staffing-Report/Oct.-13-2022/Addressing-mental-health-in-healthcare-temporary-staffing. This study found that 52.8% of the workers surveyed reported symptoms of at least one mental health condition in the prior two weeks. Symptoms included depression (30.8%), anxiety (30.3%), PTSD (36.8%) or suicidal ideation (8.4%). While these statistics are not specific to physicians or APP in the emergency room, they still point to a concern that has been voiced by many of our providers.
In talking with some of our seasoned physicians, this same sentiment is echoed throughout the conversation. We have heard that nurses are quitting, and the providers are working with many traveling nurses who may be new to that specific ER. Transfers are still difficult because of staffing at the tertiary centers so patients are being held in the local emergency rooms for prolonged periods of time. Admissions are difficult due to staffing concerns. All of this adds to the stress of an already stressful position, caring for ill patients. A provider’s role is vital to the healthcare community and provider health is a priority.
When considering if a mental health condition exists, the National Alliance of Mental Illness website notes the following symptoms to watch for:
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, or constantly sad
- Reliving traumatic events
- Isolating yourself and lack of trust in others
- Experiencing compassion fatigue, burnout, or moral injury
- Struggling to sleep or oversleeping
- New or increased substance use
- Physical symptoms such as digestive or appetite problems, increased pain, intimate issues or executive function, and memory problems.
Mental health is key for providers to perform however, many providers are reluctant to ask for help due to the potential risk to their medical license. In addition, temporary healthcare workers often do not have access to the same benefits as full-time employed workers such as Employee Assistance Programs. One such program that may be of value to providers is supplied free of charge by NAMI ((National Alliance of Mental Illness) and consultations can be done confidentially with physician support hotlines. This resource is staffed by volunteer psychiatrists and is available to physicians 7 days a week between 8 AM and 1 AM EST. That telephone number is 1-888-409-0141. Here’s the NAMI healthcare professional landing page for assistance – you may see other resources that you like on there as well. https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Frontline-Professionals/Health-Care-Professionals.
Wapiti cares about its partnering providers. We recognize the difficulty with the current landscape and want to provide each of you with opportunities for assistance should you need it during this time of change. We are grateful. You are valued and extremely appreciated.