“Caring for the caregivers” (Podium, April 29) poignantly portrayed the challenges to the mental health of medical professionals. Health care providers endure increased stress in all settings, from specialty group practices to the highly unusual emergency triage environment required during the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. The big question is what can help alleviate this widespread crisis in clinicians?
I have researched the issue through interviews with award-winning humanitarian physicians. My results showed that the doctors’ methods for avoiding burnout were based on time-honored approaches, including being appropriately assertive, spending time with family and friends, getting exercise, seeing the humor in tough situations, and deliberately seeking downtime. In essence, they consistently practice the type of sensible advice that their doting grandmothers might have given them.