Accounts of frontline health care workers experiencing distress in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for accessible psychological support for them. Prior to the pandemic, medical residents and physicians often experienced difficulty receiving counseling due to concerns about confidentiality, stigma, cost, time, and reportability to licensure/credentialing bodies. Since 2004, the OHSU Resident and Faculty Wellness Program (RFWP) team has sought to reduce these barriers by providing on-site free, confidential, individual counseling and medication management. Utilization of this program is high with over 500 physicians a year seeking care; 38% of all OHSU residents/fellows and 7% of all faculty eligible for our services participated in 2019-20. In the present essay, we describe how our model of care for trainees and faculty was a key wellness resource during COVID-19. Similar to other accounts of lower help-seeking by health professionals initially during the pandemic, we experienced a slight downturn in utilization rates during the initial weeks of when the pandemic struck our area, but quickly returned to normal and exceeded prior levels. All appointments shifted to telehealth visits and a number of physicians expressed gratitude for the opportunity to talk through concerns and strengthen coping. A number of physicians requested medication consultations to address severe insomnia, anxiety, and depression. We hope that being present in our physicians’ lives when they are exposed to COVID-related stress or trauma will keep them safe, help them cope with difficult experiences and losses, and ultimately facilitate both recovery and post-traumatic growth.
- physician wellness resources
- psychological needs of physicians during COVID19
ASJC Scopus subject areas