So we, Colin and Sara, have often thought that one of the most inexpensive initiatives that could transform the face of physician health would be something as basic as coffee time. The investment? Time, yes at a premium, but the rewards would be immeasurable; other than that, all you would need is a cup of jo and a feasible way to have a conversation.
Let us explain.
We started our medical journey together at the very beginning of medical school 24 years ago. We've been through everything together, from the 28 hour residency call shifts; to the stress and juggling of having both of our children during residency training; to working in different provinces and various medical environments; to where we are today - something completely unconventional (if convention is really a thing). One of our saving graces is that we've always had someone to talk to who "gets it". Often talking it out can diffuse the situation. Remember our brains aren't designed to make us happy, but rather to keep us alive, so it can get pretty busy and unclear up in our cerebral hemispheres.
Unfortunately, not everyone has someone to talk to, or perhaps who understands their experience; or they may not want to burden those around them etc. Often, it doesn't warrant seeking help - just a friendly, listening ear.
It's a gap in the support structures that exist that anyone can fill. One of our Twitter colleagues @KJFMartin just offered for anyone to DM him who is feeling the heaviness of the current clinical climate. It's a version of coffee time. Another colleague @susanjeanreid is part of the implementation of an in-house peer support program. A variation on the theme of just having someone to talk to, in this case more specially around an adverse event or lawsuit.
What's more is when you give of yourself to another colleague in the form of time and attention, the benefits can be felt by both of you, and in turn, passed along.
So, want to grab a coffee?
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ~ Anne Frank