In the palliative care setting, patients present with many emotional and physical challenges. Dealing with issues associated with death and dying and cumulative loss can impact on the wellbeing of clinicians, whether they work regularly in that setting or not.
Whether working as a sole practitioner or as part of a team, every health professional needs to consider how they take care of their own mental and physical health and achieve a work / life balance. Burnout and compassion fatigue can be serious consequences of workplace stress.
Self-care strategies include:
- debriefing with colleagues after complex or emotional cases
- seeking regular clinical and peer supervision if it is not offered
- reflective practice
- identifying a workplace mentor
- making sure that work is not the priority in your life
- looking after your physical health by eating well and exercising regularly
- having activities that you look forward to, such as sport, gardening, time with family
- considering other self-care strategies such as meditation
- connecting to a group of like-minded professionals to avoid feeling isolated
- peer supervision
- making professional contacts at conferences.