The Boston Medical Center (BMC) Wellness Committee was created to combat burnout and reduce physician stress with seed money from a malpractice insurance program several years ago. As its first project, the committee—composed of 15 members from different departments—chose to develop a wellness website to bring together resources from around campus on work, personal, and health topics. The Wellness Committee also organized seminars on resiliency training and narrative writing that year.
In its second year, the committee developed various in-person programs, including a monthly clinical case discussion group within the general internal medicine clinical practice begun by Jane M. Liebschutz, MD, MPH, Associate Chief of General Internal Medicine. Modeled after Balint groups (groups of clinicians who meet and talk through clinical cases to gain a better understanding of their relationships with patients), each meeting consists of one clinician presenting a difficult case to groups of eight to 12 colleagues, who then discuss it. The meeting structure provides an opportunity to overcome the isolation inherent in clinical practice and feel supported by colleagues, which decreases personal and professional stress. The program is endorsed by over 80 percent of participants. As one participant said, “The group has reminded me that relationships and communication are very important—often more important than the technical aspects of care.”
Having a wellness program helps buffer some of the challenges presented by clinical practice in today's evolving health care environment. The BMC wellness programs have reinvigorated clinicians with joy and passion in practice and have been enthusiastically received.
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