Resources for Surgeons
The following is taken from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons website: http://www.surgeons.org/Content/NavigationMenu/FellowshipandStandards
Support for surgeons
The College encourages all surgeons to recognise and discuss the challenges facing them and to ensure that self care is part of managing professional life.
Self care involves taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health. It also involves eating, sleeping and living well. To ensure surgeons enjoy their work and leisure, priorities and boundaries need to be set. Surgeons are at risk from stress, burnout and a range of illnesses. We have a responsibility to be alert to our symptoms and to seek appropriate professional care as patients. The publication Keeping the Doctor Alive: A Self Care Guide for Medical Practitioners is a valuable resource, available through the Department of Professional Standards. Fellows who complete the exercises in the guidebook are eligible to claim one point per hour in Category 7: Other Professional Development of the RACS Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program.Telephone: +61 3 9249 1274
Consult your General Practitioner
Surgeons are encouraged to regularly visit a General Practitioner they trust to manage their health care. Encourage your colleagues to do the same. By allowing another doctor to objectively manage your health, you will be free to do what you do best - concentrate on the health of your patients.
Support Networks and Surgical Friends
Maintaining an effective support network is recognised by many specialties in many countries as being the single most important means by which medical practitioners can maintain balance and health in their lives. Support networks can include surgical department heads and peers, colleagues, structured support networks and personal support from family and friends. Many surgeons find it invaluable to select one or two ‘surgical friends’ who are available to help and support in stressful times. This arrangement is best made proactively before specific incidents or trouble occurs.
Strengthening your Skills
There are a number of professional development opportunities and tools available that promote and strengthen skills for managing the challenges and pressures of surgical practice. These include time and practice management skills, coping with stress and burnout, conflict resolution and self care strategies for the healthy doctor.
Peer Support Networks
The College encourages Specialty Societies and hospital departments to establish structured peer network programs to support surgeons, including support after an adverse event. The following are examples of professional peer support services available to surgeons:
Australia: Professional Peer Support Network
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and beyondblue, in conjunction with a range of other Medical Colleges offer a structured peer program designed by medical practitioners for medical practitioners. Doctors meet together in small groups at regular intervals to provide support to each other to meet the needs for professional, social and emotional support and to engender a culture of self-care. of General Practitioners and beyondblue, in conjunction with a range of other Medical Colleges offer a structured peer program designed by medical practitioners for medical practitioners. Doctors meet together in small groups at regular intervals to provide support to each other to meet the needs for professional, social and emotional support and to engender a culture of self-care.
Telephone: +61 3 86990574
New Zealand: Support for Surgeons Group - Royal Australasian College of Surgeons of Surgeons
The Support for Surgeons Group consists of fifteen surgeons from a range of specialties trained in counselling available to support colleagues feeling isolated, stressed, experiencing health issues or need a peer to talk with.
Telephone: +64 4385 8247.
Australia & New Zealand: Members at Risk Program - Urological Society of Australia & New Zealand
The Members at Risk Program consists of two Personal Assistance Panels of senior, discreet Urologists who can confidentially assist members experiencing surgical and personal difficulties before more serious issues occur. The program is available for members who need help and also for those members who believe a colleague may need help. The Personal Assistance Panel members have published their email and mobile contact details for direct approaches.
Telephone: +61 2 9362 8644.
Need more help?
RACS Executive Director of Surgical Affairs
The Executive Director of Surgical Affairs is a Fellow of the College and plays an important role in assisting surgeons with a range of issues including advice on re-entry to practice and re-skilling, and is also a contact point to discuss concerns.
Dr John Quinn (Australia) Telephone: +61 3 9249 1206
Mr Allan Panting (New Zealand) Telephone: + 64 4 385 8247
RACS Regional Committees
Regional Committees, consisting of RACS Fellows, are available to assist Fellows with local support and advice. Access information on the College’s Regional Committees at: http://www.surgeons.org/Content/NavigationMenu/WhoWeAre/Regions/default.htm