Listen to Episode 6 Below:
The guest for this podcast was Colin West, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Medical Education, and Biostatistics at the Mayo Clinics in Rochester Minnesota, where he also serves as Director of the Mayo Clinic Program on Physician Well-Being. Dr. West’s research has focused on medical education and physician well-being and has been widely published in prominent journals including Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and JAMA Internal Medicine. Dr. West’s research aims to improve patient care by promoting physician well-being and reducing physician distress. Healthier physicians can provide better care and communicate more effectively. By understanding the factors that contribute to both well-being and distress, Dr. West hopes to improve health care delivery. In addition, Dr. West’s studies of medical education inform national policy decisions influencing physician training, which then directly impacts the health care system and patient care.
In this interview, Dr. West discusses how his journey into medicine, initially driven by a strong intellectual curiosity about science, led him to a greater awareness of the varying levels of well-being among medical professionals and the importance of addressing these issues. This began a career-long exploration of researching and advocating for the well-being of healthcare professionals, particularly physicians. This conversation underscores the humanistic aspect of medicine and the need to improve the work environment to benefit everyone in the healthcare field. His and his colleagues’ work has had significant national impact and has helped create a broader discussion on the importance of professional wellbeing in healthcare.
The discussion highlights for all of us how physician well-being and excellent patient care are interconnected, forming a virtuous cycle
Finally, in this interview Dr. West expresses a deep understanding that our health systems and organizations face tremendous pressures, very often to simply survive and continue to carry out their mission of being a source of healthcare for their communities. However, he points out that addressing physician and health professional well-being should nevertheless be a central part of their response to these pressures, stating “We need to serve our patients, and you need to get better, but in reality, we get better, faster and more effectively when we’re nurtured and cared for along the way.”
Colin West, MD, PhD
Faculty Page, Mayo Clinic:
Program on Physician Well-Being at The Mayo Clinic:
Other mentions or references during the podcast:
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca
Three-part series on Teamwork in Medicine in the New England Journal of Medicine; Author- Lisa Rosenbaum, MD, February 14, 21, 28, 2019.
Danielle Ofri, MD, New York Times June 8, 2019: The Business of Healthcare Depends on Exploiting Doctors and Nurses: One resource seems infinite and free: the professionalism of caregivers.
Stiegler MP. A piece of my mind. What I learned about adverse events from Captain Sully. It’s not what you think. JAMA 2015 Jan 27; 313(4): 361-362.
Thomas LR, Ripp JA, and West CP. Charter on Physician Wellbeing. JAMA 2018 Apr 17; 319(15): 1541-1542.