President’s Message

Posted on Jun 1, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments

We’ve made it to June.

Unfortunately, the sense of relief that the pandemic has not surged through our hospital has been replaced by the increasing anxiety of how we successfully open up our services safely. As we’ve discovered, opening up has been a greater challenge than the lockdown posed.

I have the greatest confidence in our leadership and our staff that we can meet this challenge and safely deliver high quality care to our patients. Volumes are creeping up, though not to pre-COVID levels, our OR and procedural areas have been ramping up caseload, and we have testing capabilities in place to ensure that patients are adequately screened for the coronavirus. Things are not perfect, however, and we should not expect a return to how things used to be, as the new normal will undoubtedly be with us for at least the next year as we see a regular stream of COVID cases, and not until a vaccine/herd immunity takes effect. We should also anticipate that our work to be ever more challenging, with workflows that have become more complicated and time consuming, even for patients that would have been previously straightforward and simple.

Through it all, we must look after ourselves. The nature of our work is incredibly draining: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every day that our batteries drain, we need to recharge them to be effective clinicians, in order to provide the empathic care that our patients expect. Whether that’s going for a hike, a bike ride, meditating, or cooking a delicious meal, we must treat ourselves to these moments of joy to stay whole. I ask you to connect with your fellow clinicians, see how they’re doing; oftentimes a kind word and sharing a laugh is enough for us to feel that what we’re doing is worth it.

Our Wellness medical director, Jill Kacher Cobb, has compiled these useful resources for you (listed below). Please avail yourself of these opportunities and don’t be shy!

In addition, Lenny Husen has started a small book lending library called the Resilience Shelf Project: books are available in the Doctor’s lounge, peruse and take one home, donate if you have something to contribute.

Leif Hass, our Wellness committee chair, has these thoughts:

Amazingly, disasters can lead to true emotional highs as we find ourselves being our best selves and working together.  Eventually, what goes up must come down and we can come down really hard when we are physically and emotionally exhausted.  Expect to have real low moments. I know I hit lows most every day in the last week or so.  I comfort myself by saying this is part of being a normal healthy human being.

What can really help is support – or as I often say a little love.  Be Your authentic self, if you are tired and a little down, let others at work know.  We are all caregivers.  I am sure any colleague you talk to will be there with some support and reassurance.

For those of us on the giving end remember, picking up a colleague builds culture and makes you feel good in the moment.

Be on the lookout for a survey about wellbeing from the Sutter research team.

Next week you will get an email about a quick survey. The results will help people from big Sutter down to our campus best help you all out!


Mental Health Resources including MANY free counseling sessions:

1. EAP-provided for free to all physicians on the ABSMC Medical Staff including a 24/7 crisis hotline and three free counseling sessions: 1-800-477-2258
2. Free counseling sessions provided by local Bay Area Therapists who are volunteering their time to help us out during the crisis. Click here for easy sign up for sessions: https://sites.google.com/view/cpbc-proj/home

3. Peer Support at ABSMC. Free one-on-one support from an ABSMC peer. Email us at peeroutreachABSMC@gmail.com

4. Dr. Pamela Wibble has been a nationwide resource for physicians at risk for suicide. https://www.idealmedicalcare.org/contact/?inf_contact_key=d914553d5079fa4f2638ad2b21296b60680f8914173f9191b1c0223e68310bb1

5. Another source for free counseling: https://www.7cups.com/

6. Resilience Consultations 1-650-756-7787 (Northern California). This is CMA’s 24 hour Physicians’ and Dentists’ 24 hour assistance line providing completely confidential doctor-to-doctor assistance. This service is free.

7. National Crisis Lines: 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE

Fun things to do:

1. The Open Culture website is a gem. They scour the web for free courses, free audiobooks, and free language lessons, along with free movies, text books, business courses, educational videos, K-12 resources, art & images, music, writing tips, etc. Scroll down to find Choir! Choir! Choir! for weekly sing alongs and a link for Dolly Parton to read you a bedtime story. Not kidding! http://www.openculture.com/

2. The California Academy of Sciences with the museum at home with live streams and science labs/STEM-friendly activities: https://calacademy.org/academy-home

3. Free opera with the NY Metropolitan Opera: https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/

4. Free Cirque du Soleil shows every Friday evening: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirqueconnect.

5. Free virtual museum tours at many famous museums including the British Museum in London, The Uffizi in Florence, Musée d’Orsay in Paris: https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

Stress Reduction/Meditation:

1. Headspace is free for health care professionals: provide your NPI number: https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/16/21181773/headspace-free-health-care-provider-public-health

2. Online yoga classes at Tahoe Yoga: http://www.tahoeyoga.com/

3. Mindfulness for Anxiety and Sleep-was free, may now need to pay: https://www.udemy.com/course/heal-anxiety-sleep-easily-tara-brach/

4. 21 Best Meditation Podcasts for busy people: https://www.verywellmind.com/best-meditation-podcasts-4771686#for-busy-people

5. 12 Mindfulness Hacks: https://medium.com/the-mission/12-mindfulness-hacks-you-can-use-in-24-hours-558fe00d7dd2

6. Mindfulness hacks for those who cannot sit still: https://siyli.org/resources/mindfulness-hyperactive-hack

7. Greater Good Science in Action: practice gratitude, empathy, connection and forgiveness; find the wonder and beauty in life; many free activities: science based practices for a meaningful life: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/

Self Care/Exercise:

1. Care tips for emergency responders from the CDC: https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/responders.asp 

2. Peloton exercise app: offers many exercises and a virtual exercise community: https://www.onepeloton.com/app

3. A list of free online exercise offerings: https://www.fastcompany.com/90481514/these-free-online-exercise-offers-will-help-keep-you-fit-and-sane-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

4. Nike is offering free exercise courses online: https://news.nike.com/news/nike-digital-health-activity-resources

Education:

1. Take one of 450 free online Ivy League courses: my high schooler is doing this and is having a blast! https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/ivy-league-free-online-courses-a0d7ae675869/

Kids:

1. Scholastic learn at home website for K-12 students: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.htm

2. Kids Activities blog: a compilation of fun things to do at home with kids: https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/

3. Podcasts for kids: https://www.wired.com/story/best-podcasts-for-kids/

4. Mindfulness hacks to calm an anxious child: https://lemonlimeadventures.com/7-simple-mindfulness-hacks-calm-anxious-child/

5. List of educational online resources for kids and parents: https://smartsocial.com/online-activities/

A guide for difficult conversations with patients and families:

1. Vital Talk: a COVID-19 physician communication playbook for difficult conversations: https://www.vitaltalk.org/guides/covid-19-communication-skills/

Jeff Chen, MD, MPH
Chief of Staff ABSMC Summit Campus

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