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 Anaesthetists

The document Welfare of Anaesthetists can be freely downloaded at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists website.

Special care is needed because anaesthetists typically experience:

  • long and irregular hours and frequent overtime
  • alternating low level activity with extremely demanding, precise, procedural duties
  • unexpected, rare and/or stressful crisis events
  • working to others’ schedules
  • irregular meal and leisure breaks

The Welfare of Anaesthetists Special Interest Group was formed to promote the concept of physician health, both physical and mental. It is our intention to make physician health issues mainstream and regarded as integral to healthy doctor-patient, doctor-family and doctor-workplace relationships. Our activities include, (but are not limited to): Education (trainees as well as specialists), liaison with other professional bodies, and guidance (but not direct treatment or referral) for appropriate management of physician health problems.

Indigenous Doctors

beyondblue survey has found that indigenous doctors are especially vulnerable to mental health problems.

Make sure that you have your own doctor to provide help and mentoring.

The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association supports indigenous doctors and students. AIDA is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the pursuit of leadership, partnership & scholarship in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, education and workforce. AIDA advocates for improvements in Indigenous health in Australia and encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work in medicine by supporting Indigenous students and doctors.

International Medical Graduates/Overseas Trained Doctors

As an international medical graduate, you may find that Australians have different expectations of their doctors and that your expectations of your patients may be unfamiliar to Australian patients. When differences arise, it may cause some concern or confusion. If you are worried about something, the Australian Doctors Trained Overseas Association may assist you in settling in.

The Department of Health also provides information on their DoctorConnect website.

You can also call the DHAS in your state for further advice on how to address any difficulties.

Junior Doctors

The JMOHealth website contains self-assessment tools that can give you an idea of how you are going:

Talk to the Director of Postgraduate Medical Education if you have problems with your rotation, personal issues or any other problem affecting your work. In addition, you can seek help from the Doctor’s Health Advisory Service in your state, your GP and the Employee Assistance Program (for public sector employees) 1800 337 068.

Medico-legal advice
Seek advice earlier rather than later, even if you never end up needing the help. Your Medical Defence Organisation (MDO) exists to support and advise you about what to do and what it may mean.

Medical Students

AMSA Wellbeing Initiatives:

AMSA Fact Sheet on Medical Student Wellbeing

Keeping Your Grass Greener– the wellbeing guide for medical students

When the Cowpat Hits the Windmill – National Rural Health Students’ Network

Psychiatrists

The RANZCP is particularly aware of the stresses that psychiatrists face.

The College promotes self awareness the need for everyone to have their own GP and other medical specialists as required maintaining a personal support network.

The self-care needs of rural and remote psychiatrists is of particular concern (https://www.ranzcp.org/publications/Support-for-members/Support-for-rural-and-remote-psychiatrists)

 Bush Support Services website also offers a 24-hour telephone support line that provides free, anonymous telephone counselling service to Australian rural and remote area health professionals and their families. It is staffed by psychologists experienced in the rural and remote sector.  Tel 1800 805 391.

If you need to consult with a medical professional, but would prefer to see someone outside the area you live in, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine hosts the Telehealth Provider Directory

This directory of GPs, specialists and allied health practitioners who offer consultations remotely, using video-conferencing software.

Rural and Isolated

The sense of isolation can be daunting for many doctors, especially if there are few other doctors nearby or if you are new to the bush.

Support and resources are available from the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Rural Health Education Foundation.

Surgeons

The RACS website recognises the issues of special relevance to surgeons.

Trainee surgeons can be subjected to bullying, an excessive amount of unpaid overtime and constant anxiety about holding onto a place in a highly competitive system.

Burnout has been identified as a particular problem for younger College fellows.

Not surprisingly, the smaller the hospital in which you work, and the greater the number of hours you work, the higher the levels of burnout that can be expected. (see Benson S. et al, 2009)

The RACS is particularly concerned about ensuring that trainees work appropriate hours (https://www.surgeons.org/media/21134024/2013-10-30_pos_eta-set-042_safe_working_hours_for_surgical_training.pdf)

The College also offers a peer support program (https://www.surgeons.org/news/racs-peer-support-program/)