After 25 years in medicine, Dr. Rifat Khan understands all too well why the medical profession experiences such high rates of stress and burnout. As an anesthesiologist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, IL she is familiar with the fatigue and long hours that often go with the profession. “When people experience high levels of stress or get burned out, it impacts performance and productivity. We have to do something about that in the medical field.”
Dr. Khan decided to start with herself; that’s why she enrolled in the Peer to Peer Support Program. The program was made possible thanks to gifts to the Advocate Aurora COVID-19 Relief Fund. Employee ambassadors, like Dr. Khan, are trained to recognize and intervene when a colleague is impacted by stress within the workplace. Those ambassadors can also refer team members to specialized resources in Trauma Recovery, Mission and Spiritual Care, Employee Assistance Program or Behavioral Health.
“I realized, if I’m going to continue in a leadership role, I need to be a better leader,” Dr. Khan shares. But what she didn’t realize was how much the program would benefit her, too. “My colleagues have noticed a change in me. I’m more tolerant. I learned how to diffuse situations instead of being defensive and that changes the whole environment. It’s contagious.”
Dr. Khan has learned how to get more involved when she sees team members feeling frustrated or experiencing conflict. She’s been able to share coping skills and has already helped three colleagues enroll in the program. The commitment is a four-hour training, and it’s given her a new attitude, not just at work and in the operating room, but in her life.
“It’s almost like signing up for a free therapist. It completely changed my mindset,” And that, Dr. Khan says, will lead to improved relationships and improved outcomes for her patients. “If we can take better care of each other, we can take better care of our patients and lay the groundwork for a better working environment.”
How you can help
You can support team members like Dr. Khan by donating to our COVID-19 Relief Fund. To get started, click here.