Invited Critique |

Is There a Role for Peer Support in Times of Emotional Stress?: Is It Enough?  Comment on “Physicians' Needs in Coping With Emotional Stressors”

John L. Tarpley, MD; John V. Tarpley, MDiv
Arch Surg. 2012;147(3):218. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.313.
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Hu et al1 found that 79% of surgery, anesthesia, and emergency medicine responders in one academic center experienced a serious adverse patient event or traumatic personal event within the preceding year. Several statements leaped out:

  • “There were no significant differences between trainees and attendings in their experience with stress during the past year.” Graduating chiefs, take note.

  • “ . . . [C]onventional training does not address their [medical error or adverse event] potentially devastating emotional impact on health care providers.”

  • “ . . . [P]hysicians' concerns regarding confidentiality and stigma are pervasive across support mechanisms. . . . ” We have had residents who refused recommended professional counseling because they know many credentialing forms ask about mental health treatment. The classic consequence of seeking mental health care was the fate of Senator Thomas Eagleton in the presidential election of 1972.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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