Clinical Practice Culture: Moving From Surviving to Thriving

In 2014, the Mayo Clinic released an updated study revealing that 63 percent of family physicians qualify as “burned out.” But does that mean the other 37 percent of family physicians are thriving? It’s more likely that many are in “survival mode,” according to Mark H. Greenawald, MD, FAAFP, a family physician who chairs the physician well-being committee at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia. Family physicians operate along a wellness continuum that ranges from burned out to thriving, he explains.

Existing in survival mode or a “fine” practice culture affects the physician, says Greenawald, but it also affects everyone he or she comes into contact with: staff, patients, family, and friends.

“You’ll never provide five out of five care if you’re functioning as a one or two out of five,” Greenawald notes. “The math doesn’t add up.”

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