Doctors as Patients: who takes care of healthcare providers?
Sometimes we tend to forget that doctors are humans too, and doctors can get sick if they don’t take care of our health. Most doctors are busy people – preoccupied with keeping patients healthy.
According to a 2008 systematic review on DOCTORS AS PATIENTS: doctors’ health access and the barriers they experience by Kay et. al., doctors have the same preventive health needs as the general community. Barriers to seeking health care may include embarrassment, time, cost and the personality of the doctor as a patient. However, systematic barriers to health access (long hours of duty and cultural issues) are more significant than individual barriers.
Doctors tend to be selfless, often endure sleepless nights caring for their patients, skipping meals (and baths), often neglecting their own health. We complain about patients seeking medical consult late, but it is much the same with doctors – we tend to ignore our aches and pains until our conditions get too difficult to handle.
Do you agree that doctors are the worst kind of patients? Wessely and Gerada (2013) explains the concept of doctors creating a medical self with characteristics of being perfectionists, narcissists, compulsives, denigrators of vulnerability, and martyrs. These characteristics make them good doctors, but also distort doctors’ ability to seek help and adopt the role of patient. When doctors relinquish their medical self and become patients, there is a better chance of reduced distress and global improvement.
Join us tonight at 9PM MLA time for our #HealthXPH tweetchat to discuss healing of healers… who takes care of healthcare providers?
T1. What are the challenges for doctors to take care of their health?
T2. Suggest ways on how healthcare professionals can take care of their own health.
T3. How can patients take care of their doctors?