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British Medical Journal: Autonomy, mastery, respect, and fulfillment are key to avoiding moral injury in physicians

Moral injury occurs when the basic elements of the medical profession are eroded, say Simon G Talbot and Wendy Dean. But how to avoid moral injury in physicians?

In July 2018, the physicians wrote an article that reframed clinician distress as moral injury, rather than burnout. In our view, “burnout” suggests a lack of resilience on the part of clinicians, implying that better self-care will resolve our distress, whereas “moral injury” more accurately locates the source of distress in a conflict ridden healthcare system.

Now, featured in the BMJ, they’ve expanded on what to do next.

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Medical Economics: Time to retire the “patient consumer”

When the patient is a consumer there is a shift in the implied power dynamic. Rather than presenting to the physician seeking his or her expert advice and counsel, the interaction becomes a transactional one in which the physician provides a service and the patient pays for it. In this type of dynamic, the patient-customer is “never wrong,” according to Cesar Ritz’s well-known edict, broadly adopted in the hospitality industry.

Read the rest of the piece on Medical Economics. It’s time to retire the patient consumer!

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Physician’s Weekly: Solving the Double Binds of Moral Injury

Our words matter. As with making an accurate diagnosis, using accurate language to describe a situation is the necessary first step in describing its resolution. Labeling the current surfeit of physician distress as “burnout” inaccurately describes the condition and, therefore, misdirects potential solutions. We need the right words to describe the condition, which will allow for development of the right solutions. Moral Injury starts that conversation. Read on Physician’s Weekly: Solving the Double Binds of Moral Injury.

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The Happy Doc Podcast: Moral Injury, Ep. 100,

The term moral injury has been gaining popularity in the internet-sphere, especially after, Wendy Dean MD and Simon Talbot MD’s article was released on STAT news. Moral Injury is an important topic to discuss as this terminology offers a broader understanding than the word “burnout.”

Burnout suggests a health professional is at fault for their emotional state: they aren’t resilient enough, and that they need to learn to recover better. Yet moral injury suggests something larger is at play. The consequences of this terminology and mindset change are immense, as we learn that hospital dynamics, insurance, litigation, electronic medical records, and policy must evolve, for health professionals to thrive.

Learn from our guests Wendy Dean MD and Simon Talbot as we discuss moral injury and its implications on healthcare.

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