Improving the workplace and understanding how to develop an effective workforce are important goals. Closely interrelated is the need to improve the wellbeing of those who are delivering the care. In 2013, Medscape began to produce surveys on physician burnout. In the six years since, that percentage has risen steadily to now 44 percent of those surveyed. If we look at our future, our residents, studies suggest about 35 to 75 percent report being burned out. In the surveys about burnout based on specialty, emergency medicine remains near the top. In addition, those surveys suggest that 15 percent of physicians are significantly depressed. At the end of that spectrum are the 400 physicians who commit suicide every year. Clearly, this has to change.
To begin, we need to remove the barriers that prevent physicians from getting help. We have been working with the Federation of State Medical Boards to find ways to make the credentialing and licensing process more supportive by changing how they query our physicians for depression and mental health. Our Well-Being Committee and Wellness Section will also continue to develop resources on systemic wellness strategies, tutorials and evidence-based practices that support wellness. Their work will be supported by the Academic Affairs Committee and EMRA to make sure we cross all levels of practice. We have engaged in these activities for several years now with all of the EM specialty organizations and will continue to do so.
In addition to all the great work you will do for ACEP and your emergency medicine colleagues, I do have one additional ask of you: Be kind. We know that as a College, we have a wide representation of our society. Unfortunately, the divisiveness we see everyday spills over, not only internal to our communications, but often to external audiences who are watching. Many of those kinds of interactions are clearly available for anyone to see.
Fundamentally though, I believe that all of you, and all of your partners in care, go to work every day striving to provide the best care you can for your patients. You will see us as a College refocus on messaging that emphasizes our immense strength; the strength that is in the breadth and depth of talent we have within the specialty, the strength we show in supporting the diverse practices of all emergency physicians, the strength of promoting the areas of connection and passion that bring us together, and the strength that serves as a point of reference that defines ACEP and emergency medicine.