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Talkspace: How Medical Workers Are Coping With The Trauma of COVID-19

“The pandemic arrived to a healthcare system that’s already deeply in crisis,” said Wendy Dean, a psychiatrist and president of Moral Injury of Healthcare, a group that advocates for more sustainable medical workplaces. “All of the challenges that clinicians are facing prior to the pandemic are just highlighted, exacerbated, and added to.”

In this piece with Talkspace, Dr. Dean outlines some of the basics of moral injury prevention for individuals to take.

As always, our organization has resources available for organizations and individuals experiencing moral injury due to COVID-19.

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STAT News: How common is burnout among physicians? It depends on how it’s defined

In a recent article by Pratihba Gopalakrishna, a new study is discussed that focuses on burnout and how commonplace it may be. However, Drs. Wendy Dean and Simon Talbot believe the definition of burnout needs to be reexamined.

“If we’re going to talk about the condition of burnout, then we need to be much more rigorous about applying a strict definition and measure so that everybody’s talking about the same thing using the same scale,” said Wendy Dean, a psychiatrist and the co-founder of the nonprofit organization Moral Injury of Healthcare. Dean was not involved in the new research.

Read the full article on STAT News.

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KevinMD: Mindfulness as a Diagnostic Tool, Not a Treatment

In this most recent article from Drs. Dean and Talbot, they explore the concept of mindfulness as a diagnostic, rather than treatment for moral injury.

What would happen if clinicians flipped the script on mindfulness, and instead of using it to tolerate a broken system, used it to sharpen awareness of the challenges?

Explore this with the doctors in their latest piece published on KevinMD below.

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Voice America: Beyond Burnout: The Moral Injury of Doctors

During this pandemic, most people have been grateful for the courage of medical workers. We have heard about the physical demands and emotional burnout they have suffered; but far less about moral injury.

In this episode, Dr. Keith Corl, an emergency and critical care physician offers a personal and professional understanding of moral injury of physicians, both before and during COVID-19.  Listen to Voice America: Beyond Burnout: The Moral Injury of Doctors below!

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Boise State Public Radio: As COVID-19 Takes A Toll On Doctors’ Mental Health, Nevada Psychiatrists Offer An Ear

“It’s going to take weeks or months before people are really able to take a breath and start thinking about all they’ve seen, all they’ve experienced and to start processing it,” Dr. Wendy Dean says. “I firmly believe that the mental health surge is going to be significantly delayed from the viral surge.”

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The Chief Leader: H+H Wary of Mental-Health Crisis Among Its Health-Care Staff

Dr. Wendy Dean was invited to testify at the New York City June 16, 2020 City Council hearing. During this testimony, she shared that a “culture of self-sacrifice” stops medical staff from seeking help for mental-health issues in the first place.

“There’s a habit of many in health-care to minimize their own needs in the face of greater suffering by patients and families,” Dr. Dean said.

Other testimonies included physicians from Bellevue Hospital and others. A summary article from The Chief Leader can be found below, or a full video of the City Council meeting via the NYC City Counsel website also linked below.

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The Daily Beast: Health Insurance Companies Thrive While the Pandemic Ravages America

While other corners of the health-care world struggled to care for patients, protect staff, and find scarce equipment, for-profit health insurance companies did just fine. Drs. Wendy Dean and Simon G. Talbot co-authored this article with Dr. Samuel Shem.

Crises often highlight both the best and the worst of humanity. Coronavirus is no exception. It has brought out the best in America’s health-care workforce. It also has deeply wounded the healthcare workers through moral injuries.

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