OVERVIEW

The Wellness in Anaesthesia Support Group was spearheaded by the late Jates Oettle, a very passionate anaesthesiologist who cared deeply and passionately about the wellbeing of everyone around him. He devoted a huge amount of his time and energy on professional improvement as well as psychological wellbeing of his fellow co-workers and the anaesthetic community. His passing in 2016 was a great loss to all of us. (Click here to view the obituary.)

We, in the Support Group, are all immensely passionate about expanding on his legacy and being the support that our anaesthetic community needs. We are all anaesthetic practitioners that understand the stresses and strains that we go through in our daily life. We volunteer our time and our energy to be there for anaesthetic doctors that need help. There is no stigma. There is no judgment. There is only commitment to the wellbeing of our fellow anaesthetists, in a totally compassionate and confidential manner. We have all been through it and are all still going through it together.

We are committed to be there for you.

When we swore on the Hippocratic Oath, we committed ourselves to the service of others. It is deeply engrained within us, in who we are and in our training that we always put others before ourselves, often to our own detriment.

Patients always come first, and then it is family, our friends, our community, our continuing education and lastly, if ever, ourselves.

Long term work-related stresses and self-neglect have a profoundly negative impact, not only on us, our physical and psychological health, but also on our family life, relationship with co-workers, our social circle and eventually on our effectiveness in our professional life.

It causes burnout, simply defined as “a state of mental exhaustion caused by one’s professional life.” It adversely affects the quality of patient care, our job satisfaction, our personal life, and can have debilitating negative personal consequences. Unfortunately, burnout is a pervasive and ever-increasing problem in the medical fraternity and data has shown more than 50% of doctors now exhibit symptoms of burnout.

All of us are at significant risk of burnout, from medical students to registrars and practicing doctors, in state or in private practice. Burn-out is also, unfortunately, only a step on an escalating continuum. This continuum, defined in an article by Sharmila Dissanaike et al, How to Prevent Burnout (maybe), in the American Journal of Surgery, is graphically represented below. (S. Dissanaike. Am J Surg. No 212(2016): 1251-1255)