a response to our progress note

Posted by Stephanie Ahlborn on

A few weeks ago, we shared an article written by formation community member, Dr. Sara R. Ahronheim. She shared her experience as a physician, the mental health struggles that come along with it and she encourages readers to not let medicine crush them during the difficult times.

After we shared Dr. Ahronheim’s story, we received feedback from a few of our community members who were strongly impacted by her story and shared their struggles working in medicine. We’d like to take this opportunity to share a story we received with the rest of our community, so we can begin to break the stigma for health care workers to seek support when they need it.

“Well, thank you Kathryn. I was just holding myself together, not well mind you, and then I read this. It is so beautifully written and exquisitely painful. As I sit wracked with anxiety, frustration, anger and sadness after just another normal week, I am reduced to tears. It’s been a while since I cried but now it’s impossible to stop. When people ask you how you are you say, “oh fine thanks” not even remotely connected to that answer. We lie to our patients, family, friends and strangers.. “Oh fine thanks”. What would our lives be if we told the truth? We would fall apart, drop the facade, get help, change the broken system? We’ll never know because our cries for help get trampled on.

Medicine is not a job or career or even a “calling”. It was when we so eagerly put our lives aside to get into medical school then the destruction of our being started with the first statement of indoctrination, “You are the best of the best to be in this position”, then you are systematically destroyed through years of training. After years of working and gaining experience and being confident in your clinical skills, you are hit with the feeling of what was it all for. The mental health challenges that most of us face, especially after a protracted pandemic, with the physical and financial hardships that have hit us all only laid bare the problems in our system. I feel the enormity of that on my shoulders every minute of every day and it’s crushing me.

I’m off today so I can let go for a minute, cry uncontrollably about nothing in particular and feel the sweet release of some of the pain. Thank you for that.”

The thoughts shared above remind us that we need to start talking to each other, it’s the only way we can support one another and shift the culture of medicine. It’s time we stood together to break the stigma.

We are stronger together, we got this.

- the formation team

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progress notes

'tis the season for giving

'tis the season for giving

This holiday season, help give a healthcare worker the gift of formation scrubs! 🎁

We believe in the power of collective action, which is why we created the Pay It Forward program.  

The program allows individuals, businesses, or organizations to give the gift of the scrubs, without needing to purchase a pair. Through community donations, this program facilitates the purchase of a pair of scrubs for a health care worker through anonymous donations. 

Just like finding out at the drive-through window that the kind soul ahead of you has bought your meal, a health care worker will be surprised at the checkout on our website with a message that lets them know someone has already paid for their set of scrubs.

Our hope is that this kind gesture by community members and customers will bring a smile and moment of joy to our health care workers who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines. 

Recognizing your commitment to supporting formation’s community of health care workers, and all that they do to keep us safe and healthy, is important to us. Without the generous contribution from sponsors like you, our Pay It Forward program would not be possible.

Have a healthy and happy holiday!

We got this,

- the formation team

5 tips for handling holiday stress

5 tips for handling holiday stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but can also be one of the most stressful times for healthcare workers. 

Healthcare does not rest during the holiday season, and as you know, work often gets busier. On top of an overloaded work schedule and increased personal commitments, we’re entering into the time of year that has shorter, darker, colder days. Now more than ever, it’s essential to take care of your mental and physical health.

These five tips can help you to manage stress during the next few weeks, and make the most of  the holiday season:

       1) Plan What You Can

While planning ahead is always a good idea, it’s important to remember that there are some things that are out of your control. Planning ahead can help you visualize your work shifts, holiday activities, and obligations you’ve committed. It’s okay to say no when you feel overwhelmed or overburdened, keep a calendar to help you decide which ones you will truly enjoy.

       2) Be Realistic

As we enter into the season of giving, remember that you give every day in your job - your time, your care, and your patience. While giving in and outside of work can help you feel happiness, it can also lead to burnout. It's important to know your limits. Keeping a realistic approach to the season and what you can take on both personally and professionally can help you manage expectations for the winter months.

       3) Make a List (& Check it Twice)

With so much going on, the last thing you want to do is lose track of time and feel overwhelmed with everything you need to accomplish. Instead of trying to remember everything you need to do, make a list (or two) and check off each task as you complete it. Making a list of professional and personal to-dos, ideas for holiday shopping, or writing down goals for the month will help you keep on top of everything.

       4) Savour the Season

With so much going on, remember to take a step back away from it all and enjoy the charm of the season. Throw on a Christmas playlist, make a cup of hot chocolate, and take a walk around your neighbourhood to look at the lights. 

       5) Remember to Rest

The holiday season brings more stress, more work and more travel, which typically means less rest. On top of taking on extra personal obligations, it’s also the peak of cold and flu season, so its extra important to rest and take extra measures to stay healthy. Keeping active, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest will be essential for keeping your mental health and immune system strong.

Remember you are never alone, ask for help and support when you need it, and recognize the signs of burnout. Our library has multiple resources to support your mental and emotional wellness. 

Give yourself the gift of mental and physical health this holiday season. We’re in this together!

We got this,

- the formation team