Physician health and wellness is a critical issue gaining national attention because of the high prevalence of physician burnout. Pediatricians and pediatric trainees experience burnout at levels equivalent to other medical specialties, highlighting a need for more effective efforts to promote health and well-being in the pediatric community. This report will provide an overview of physician burnout, an update on work in the field of preventive physician health and wellness, and a discussion of emerging initiatives that have potential to promote health at all levels of pediatric training. Pediatricians are uniquely positioned to lead this movement nationally, in part because of the emphasis placed on wellness in the Pediatric Milestone Project, a joint collaboration between the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Pediatrics. Updated core competencies calling for a balanced approach to health, including focus on nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, and effective stress management, signal a paradigm shift and send the message that it is time for pediatricians to cultivate a culture of wellness better aligned with their responsibilities as role models and congruent with advances in pediatric training. Rather than reviewing programs in place to address substance abuse and other serious conditions in distressed physicians, this article focuses on forward progress in the field, with an emphasis on the need for prevention and anticipation of predictable stressors related to burnout in medical training and practice. Examples of positive progress and several programs designed to promote physician health and wellness are reviewed. Areas where more research is needed are highlighted.
Keywords: burnout; lifestyle change; mindfulness; physician health and wellness; stress.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.