The work of a physician is stressful. They work long hours in emotionally charged situations. They often feel they have no quiet space where they can restore their energy or interact with colleagues in a supportive environment. A place to gather has been a top priority for VPSA members working at VGH and that goal is about to be realized. The brand-new Physician Hub for Engagement and Wellness (PHEW) opens officially September 17 in the former Round Room next to Sassafras Café. All VPSA members are invited to join in this celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. (RSVP to vpsa.eventbrite.com)
“We have been pleased to work with VPSA on this initiative,” said VCH President and CEO Mary Ackenhusen. “The physician hub will help doctors working at VGH restore energy and connect with colleagues… two factors that have been shown to buffer against burnout and enhance engagement.”
VCH provided the space and covered the professional fees for the PHEW and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation provided artwork. The SSC, through its Facility Engagement Initiative, funded the renovations and furniture.
Physician wellness is vital to the delivery of high-quality health care. Emerging research indicates that physician stress, burnout, depression or general psychological distress negatively affects health-care systems and patient care. Forward thinking health authorities are targeting programs that prevent burnout and promote wellness. The Mayo Clinic, for example, provides dedicated meeting areas for physicians at its campuses because these provide for peer interaction and comradery.
“Physicians have been reported to have a high level of burnout because of the stresses of health care that have become more complex and more demanding, over the years,” said VPSA President Dr. Simon Rabkin. “We work better and are more fulfilled when we have a supportive environment. This is the intention of this new space: It will bring us together and allow us to be reinvigorated at the same time.”
VGH is not the only VCH hospital to realize the importance of providing physicians with a gathering space. Lions Gate Hospital physicians have benefited from a dedicated space for many years.
“The LGH Physician Engagement Society recently started providing coffee, tea and water and occasional lunches and that has really brought the doctors together; they are connecting and using the space more now,” said Dr. Ross Brown, Co-Senior Medical Director, VCH Coastal. “It’s a simple and cost-effective way to build a sense of community and workplace connectedness.”
The VGH PHEW will be open 24/7 for VPSA members and will provide a space for physicians to enjoy a cup of coffee, connect with colleagues, or take time to rest. Physicians are also encouraged to use the space for informal meetings with other VPSA members. VPSA will host events in the space including its Breakfast with Leaders and Unique Lives in Medicine series and a weekly coffee networking session. Members are encouraged to contact VPSA with ideas for additional events and workshops that could be hosted in the PHEW.