April 16, 2019
Resilience, the ability to bounce back from difficult situations or circumstances, is often discussed in regard to clients and patients. Rarely is it discussed in regard to those providing care and services to these individuals, it is merely assumed. The mental and emotional well-being of providers in the substance use disorder profession, or indeed, in any type of healthcare, is often overlooked, dismissed, or shrugged off. There seems to be an underlying assumption that providers come into the profession with inborn resilience and that we can move on from difficult experiences without lasting harm. Burn-out and compassion-fatigue are often seen as weaknesses, rather than a natural consequence of a service that can take a huge emotional toll. We are often more compassionate toward clients and patients than we are toward our employees, supervisees and ourselves. Recently, people have been becoming more aware that pretending the problem of burn-out doesn’t exist, or dismissing those with compassion fatigue as weak, is not making those problems go away, and may in fact be exacerbating them. Like many other problems, we must first be able to openly talk about these issues, without fear of being shamed by supervisors and colleagues, in order to combat them.
In an effort to help combat the stigma around burn-out and compassion fatigue, the NHADACA Board of Directors, as guided and proposed by the Ethics Committee, submitted a Commitment Statement outlining our commitment to improving provider well-being to the National Academy of Medicine, Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience (NAM). NAM has requested organizations in the healthcare field submit statements in an effort to foster a national commitment to fight burn-out and fatigue. It is NHADACA’s hope that participating in this effort will help further a conversation about the need to foster provider well-being on both a national and local level.
Within the coming months, NHADACA will further this effort throughout NH by reaching out to local organizations and invite them to also post organizational commitment statements that support provider well-being. For more information contact the NHADACA office at 603.225.7060.