Taking time out as a GP

Morgan Liotta

3/02/2020 2:55:10 PM

A life in general practice requires a lot of commitment, but how often do you commit time to yourself?

Super imposed image of young woman
The upcoming Wellbeing Weekend is an opportunity for GPs to take time out.

Self-care for GPs has been under the spotlight recently, and the importance of taking time out to prevent burnout is just as important for doctors as it is for their patients, with strong evidence that healthier doctors means a healthier population.
The RACGP Victoria New Fellows Committee is hosting a Wellbeing Weekend in March, offered to all GPs, New Fellows and GPs working towards Fellowship from all over Australia.
The weekend will provide opportunity to relax and rejuvenate, while learning new skills through practical and engaging workshops. It also offers the chance to interact with other GPs, with the overall aim to optimise the health and wellbeing of GPs and their patients.
Dr Caroline Johnson is a GP and senior lecturer in general practice at the University of Melbourne with a special interest in doctor self-care. Her presentation at the event focuses on the RACGP’s vision – ‘Healthy Profession. Healthy Australia: What’s my role?’
‘I hope to use the session to inspire the audience about how they can contribute to the growth and enhancement of our profession, including via contributions to our college and beyond,’ Dr Johnson told newsGP.
With wellbeing identified as an area of focus within the profession, Dr Johnson sees the weekend as a good opportunity to connect.
‘Being a competent GP is a challenging gig,’ she said.
‘All doctors need to ensure they look after themselves and support each other to ensure a healthy profession, effective in their role caring for their communities.
‘[The weekend offers] a great chance for New Fellows and other GPs to get together and take time out to reflect on their work, self-care and how to support each other.’
Outside of her presentation, Dr Johnson is looking forward to networking and learning some new approaches to self-care.
‘After more than 20 years in practice, I find spending time with younger GPs really inspirational,’ she said.
The inaugural Wellbeing Weekend will take place 14–15 March in Hepburn Springs, Victoria. The full program and registration details are available on the RACGP website.
RACGP Victoria Faculty is offering to cover accommodation cost for the Saturday night of the Wellbeing Weekend to any GP directly impacted by the 2019–20 bushfires. Contact for more information.
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Dr Gregory Parkin-Smith   4/02/2020 1:12:40 PM

The rhetoric around doctor self-care isnow becoming patornising to many. The need to self-care is obvious. However, achiving a work-life balance and appropriate self-care as GP, in whatever form that may be, while still trying to make a decent living out of general practice, is no longer a realistic goal. General practice has largely been stripped of its professionalism, and with that the authority of individual doctors to create their own work-life balance. Of course a doctor may choose to have more time out of practice, have more social, sporting and hobby activities, but then these doctors will need accept very average incomes.