OSLI Retina

September 2020

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Practical Retina September 2020 ยท Vol. 51, No. 9 481 could lead to suicide. More than 400 physicians commit suicide every year, with the rate of com- pletion among women physicians being 2.27-times higher than the general female population, and men being 1.41-times greater than the general male population. 8 This issue has dubbed burnout and suicide as a "public health crisis" among medical professionals. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, these mental health issues can be exacerbated due to high- er workload, anxiety due to uncertainty, increased burden or a new workflow, leading to acute stress reactions, compassion fatigue, or fear of becoming sick oneself or spreading illness to loved ones. Al- ternatively, disruption of workflow and shifting of resources to "essential procedures only" results in the cancellation of many health maintenance ap- pointments and can hinder access to routine oph- thalmological care. This paired with the difficulty of completing ophthalmological exams via telemed- icine can lead to poor work satisfaction and long- term patient outcomes. 9 Figure 1. The pyramid shows how each category of needs builds upon the previous. The culture in medicine is often not conducive to layers of this pyramid, and we should try to be aware of its pitfalls. Physical needs such as sleep and food are of high importance and are bases to all other success. Creating an environment where one has plenty of rest, exercise, and nourishment is paramount. Safety and security touch on the need to feel safe in work and home environment in terms of job security, household stability, and financial security. The need for love and belongingness can often be forgotten when professional obligations conflict with personal ones. Fostering relationships with friends, family, and colleagues is extremely important to balance. These require concerted effort but are cornerstones to personal well-being. Feelings of accomplishment and esteem are attainable during training as goals are reached, but during clinical practice this can be lost in daily routine. Setting goals and milestones and having mentors is important. A sense of accomplishment can come from helping improve or preserve patients' vision. Others may feel accomplished by being active in professional organizations and within the hospital or practice. Academic endeavors (such as publications or recognition by the scientific community) can be motivators. Financial health is important, but purely financial metrics of success do not lead to long-lasting satisfaction. The path to self-actualization is a path of successes, failures, tribulations, and personal growth. A mindful approach to everyday, routine interactions with patients, staff, and colleagues will go a long way.

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