Health and Wellbeing
Importance of RMO Wellness
Resident Doctors (RMOs) receive significant job satisfaction from carrying out their daily work, which involves helping patients in need. However, being an RMO, as well as modern life, is stressful.
RMOs are a vulnerable group: we have one of the highest reported rates of mental illness and suicide. In 2016, The Guardian reported that 8 out of every 10 doctors in England have experienced mental health issues. Factors such as long hours, shift work, trauma, death, high stakes and occupational stress all contribute significantly to the physical and psychological toll.
RMOs in training are twice as likely to cite very high levels of psychological distress compared to Senior Medical Officers.
Stress and burnout for New Zealand doctors is a big issue. Across most medical sectors, burnout (including mental and physical exhaustion) rates sit above the 50 % mark. The high demands of training (including meeting run requirements, passing exams and attending teaching sessions) exacerbate the daily pressures of treating patients.
The number of members contacting the NZRDA with issues relating to their health and wellbeing is increasing – these RMOs are stressed, anxious, burnt out and, at times, suicidal.
Despite their medical expertise, RMOs are human beings: we are not immune to the struggle of recognising and managing our own health & wellbeing. We want RMOs to be the best they can be at work and in life generally.
See this article in the New Zealand Herald discussing the pervasiveness of poor health and wellbeing among New Zealand doctors.
Please get in touch with if you have a matter you would like to discuss with us.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
With more and more people sharing their experiences of sexual harassment and encouraging others to speak out, it has become apparent that sexual harassment in the workplace remains a serious issue in need of addressing throughout New Zealand. It is important to the NZRDA that the RMO workplace is a safe one – an environment which fosters a culture of mutual respect and one that addresses any unacceptable behaviour.
Meditation is a way to give your mind the time to pause, detach and re-energise in order to manage stress, increase happiness and boost productivity for sustainable high performance.
- Research suggests that in-person Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs may help manage stress. In fact, a systematic review of 17 MBSR studies found the program to be effective in reducing psychological and physiological symptoms of stress.
- A systematic review of in-person meditation training found that 69% of the studies analyzed showed meditation practice alleviated symptoms of anxiety.
- A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials for insomnia found that eight weeks of in-person meditation training significantly improved total waking time and sleep quality in patients with insomnia.
- A study evaluating the benefits of an in-person mindfulness-based relationship enhancement program suggests that mindfulness enhances couples’ levels of relationship satisfaction, autonomy, closeness and acceptance of each other, while reducing relationship distress.
- Scientists investigated the effects of a brief in-person meditation training program on cognition and their findings suggest that meditating for just four days is enough to improve novice meditators’ working memory, executive functions and their ability to process visual information.
- A study of burnout in Irish doctors.
- Changes proposed to Hippocratic Oath to acknowledge the need for doctors to care for themselves as well as their patients have been ratified by the World Medical Association.
- Why are rates of mental illness so high among RMOs and nurses?
- Burnout and depression: tales from the UK.
- Systematic review of doctors’ mental health in Australia.
- How doctors are taught to deal with death.