This is a collection of resources intended to help pain doctors support their own wellbeing and that of their colleagues, particularly in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Wellbeing and the pain doctor
As anaesthetists and pain specialists, our experience is diverse, ranging from managing major emergencies at two o’clock in the morning, to helping patients to accept and cope with mental and physical health challenges which affect their lives for decades.
Acknowledging the effect that our work and personal challenges can have on us is important. By considering our own pressures, as well as those experienced by our colleagues, we may be able to optimise the wellbeing of ourselves and those around us.
Wellbeing, the pain doctor and COVID-19
The wellbeing challenges we have faced over the last few months have been considerable, including:
- returning to clinical areas where we may have ceased practising
- changing guidelines for PPE, aerosol generating procedures and many other aspects of usual practice
- working in new teams, unfamiliar environments and exhausting shifts
- frustration at being unable to help on the front line due to shielding or lacking recent clinical experience
- concerns for personal safety and transferring the virus to family
- isolation from familiar support mechanisms in and out of work
- dealing with distressed patients and relatives
- dealing with anxious and stressed colleagues
- anxiety over equipment and PPE availability
- digital working
- dealing with backlogs and waiting lists
- new and frequently updated guidance for procedures and consent
- fear of another rise in COVID cases
We need to consider what we can do to prioritise our own wellbeing and maximise our productivity.
Maintaining good relationships with our teams and those around us is important and needs consideration at a time when stresses inevitably mean we are all somewhat more fragile than we might normally be.
The following is a list of resources which have been compiled to help. Click on each area to learn more.
If you have any suggestions for additional resources please email email@example.com.
For COVID specific guidance from the FPM, please visit our Evolving Challenges hub.
Information on emergency contacts, physical and mental wellbeing, fatigue, suicide prevention, mentoring and career support.
The GMC provides a link to a range of resources across the UK that can support doctors’ wellbeing.
These wellbeing support services are open to all doctors and medical students, regardless of BMA membership, as well as their partners and dependants aged 16-24. They're confidential and free of charge.
- Occupational Health and GP
Headspace is a mindfulness and meditation app, which aims to help reduce stress. Use your NHS email to redeem your free subscription
Calm is an app focused on sleep, meditation and relaxation. As a start, try the short 10 min meditation, and try both male and female voices.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs and provides one way of thinking about wellbeing.
Unmind is a mental health platform that empowers staff to proactively improve their mental wellbeing. Use your NHS email to redeem your free subscription.
Sleepio is a clinically-evidenced sleep improvement programme that uses cognitive behavioural techniques to help improve poor sleep. Use the code NHS2020 to redeem your free subscription.
Daylight is an app that helps with symptoms of worry and anxiety. Use your NHS email to redeem your free subscription.
Silvercloud is an online CBT based package from Let’s Talk with resources on resilience, stress and sleep. It's currently free for NHS staff and their families.
- Psychologically savvy conversations: Healthcare workers training in psychological first aid
PHE have developed a free online course for responders, available to frontline workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the coronavirus pandemic. The course enables responders to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by coronavirus, including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation as they carry out their vital work as part of the ongoing coronavirus response.
- Trauma risk management (TRiM)
This is a method of secondary PTSD (and other traumatic stress related mental health disorders) prevention. TRiM training provides TRiM Practitioners with a background understanding of psychological trauma and its effects. It is a trauma-focused peer support system and the way it works is wholly compliant with the PTSD management guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence.
The Faculty runs a mentoring & buddying programme, which was established to provide support for doctors within Pain Medicine who may want support in one particular area or in several areas, for example, clinical practice, research, managing a service or professional work/life balance. Mentoring and buddying relationships are often mutually beneficial with both parties having the potential to learn, increase confidence and support and enhance their practice.
- Educational supervision: Professional Support & Wellbeing for HEE South West
Tailte Breffni and Lyn Hodgson-Watts developed this presentation for HEE South West (shared with permission) which contains a lot of information for personal wellbeing and support for trainees.