Interventions to improve physicians´ well-being and patient care

Firth-Cozens J. Soc Sci Med 2001; 52 (2): 215-22.

Article in English.

Abstract on Pubmed:

Concerns about the quality of medical care provided by health services appear to be increasing. Deficits in care are frequently found to be associated with stress and with the apparent lack of recognition of psychological problems when they occur in doctors. This paper looks briefly at the levels and sources of stress, depression and alcoholism in doctors, and the relationship of these to the care they provide. It goes on to use the research findings on causation to propose a system of organisational and individual primary and secondary interventions to address these psychological problems. The paper focusses upon a longitudinal study which follows up 314 medical students over 11 years, but also uses other relevant recent literature to discuss the issues that arise.

Comment on Pubmed:

Dr. Firth-Cozens begins her paper by reviewing a broad range of research related to physicians´ stress, depression, and alcoholism (Firth-Cozens, 2001, Social Science and Medicine, 52, 215-222). She then argues that these psychological problems have a negative impact on patient care and describes the possible causes of these problems. Finally, she proposes a system of organizational and individual interventions to address these problems. Before accepting her conclusions and proposed system of interventions, an important issue should be considered. Is physicians´ well-being an important goal in and of itself, or do we need strong evidence that physician stress, depression, and alcoholism lead to poor patient care and outcomes?

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