Updated: Dec 4, 2018
Safe to say, most of us can identify with feeling 'hangry' - that combination of hungry and angry that is precipitated by not having a food fuel source when you need it. And it's really safe to say that most of us have experienced it somewhere along the medical education-practice spectrum - often regularly and repeatedly. It's surprising that something so basic and fundamental doesn't remain a priority in the schedule of many busy professionals - and this is no secret.
Much research and information has been published around this issue including the article Physician Health: A Review of Lifestyle Behaviors and Preventive Health Care Among Physicians from the BC Medical Journal in 2012, which states: "Addressing the barriers to proper workplace nutrition should be a focus for all health care organizations and independent practitioners. Not only does proper nutrition benefit the individual physician, it also enhances the quality of patient care and ultimately increases the efficiency of the organization."
So why not have REAL lunch breaks incorporated into the day for all healthcare professionals, physicians included? Many reasons around this exist including the reality that physicians may have a lunch break booked off, but have to use it to complete their pile of paperwork, or they were so overbooked in the morning that it gave them time to catch up.
This discussion came up on our Twitter feed recently and it is clear that people who look after other people need lunch breaks too - it makes a difference to work satisfaction. Not only would it allow for a break, but also the opportunity to interact with colleagues, get outside, enjoy a nutritious lunch, or just 'be'.
This tweak would be a small, yet big change that may ultimately improve the outlook of our profession and move one step closer toward addressing this beast called burnout.