Managing stress as a GP

By Jean Berry,2014-04-24 16:31
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Managing stress as a GP

Managing stress as a GP

    General Practice is stressful and although we can’t remove the stress it can be managed, so that it is less likely to cause you distress or illness.

    How do you recognise stress and the development of stress related behaviours & illness?

    The symptoms; feeling unwell, tired all the time, irritable, short tempered and unhappy.

The signs:

    ; Decreased productivity (late for surgery, late doing paperwork, unable to cope

    with additional tasks or ‘extras’), withdrawal from practice development, new

    projects and team working)

    ; Difficulty coping with change

    ; Increasingly doctor centred consultations

    ; Increasing significant events

    ; Depersonalisation of patients with loss of human values they become


    ; Increasing use of alcohol

Causes of stress


    ; Complaints or litigation

    ; Increased workload (increased numbers or expectations)

GP Patient communication

    ; Lack of consultation skills

    ; Poor emotional housekeeping

    ; Unnecessary interruptions to consultations


    ; Unrealistic expectations of themselves (the demon of perfection)

    ; Lack of intellectual stimulation

    ; Poor time management or organisation skills

    ; Health issues

    ; Home issues (finance, relationships, dependants etc)

    Practice factors

    ; Increased actual workload (increasing list size or increasing patient


    ; Decreased GP numbers (maternity leave, sick doctor, holidays) ; Resource input not keeping pace with increasing demand ; Poor organisation

    ; Poor peer or professional support

    ; Dysfunctional partnership

     if you have the symptoms and signs then you need to change Managing stress

    things now!

    Changing the way you work

    ; Look at your time management skills e.g. improving your delegation or

    consultation skills.

    ; Put a 15 min break in the middle of your surgeries for catch-up or a tea break

    ; Ensure that you use your half day for leisure and relaxation ; Tackle the inner demon of perfection and accept the fact that you can’t excel

    all the time.

    ; Commit to life long learning and personal & professional development ; Appropriate, realistic and achievable goal setting ; Increase peer support - Join a Young Practitioner’s group or LMC

    ; Complaints act on them, discuss them, learn from them and move on!

    Changing your work

    ; Decrease your work commitment resign those committees or decrease your

    partnership share.

    ; Reduce or cap your list size.

    ; Explore salaried options or consider a split hospital/GP post ; Change Practice

    Changing how things are done at work

    ; Prevent unnecessary interruptions

    ; Review systems increase admin support, change skill mix e.g. Nurse


    ; Delegation to admin, nurse or Nurse Practitioner

    ; Change your appointment, visits or on-call system ; Increase your workforce Partner, Salaried GP or Nurse

    Tackling issues at home

    ; Get someone to pick the kids up on on-call days

    ; RELATE

    ; Have a holiday

    ; Develop non-medical hobbies or interests

    ; Sort out your financial affairs

    ; See your GP or use BMA counselling services, local PCT services or the

    National Counselling Service for Sick Doctors

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