Enduring Witness - The Inner Journey of a Compassionate Doctor
Keywords:preventing burnout and compassion fatigue
“Enduring witness” is a 30 minute DVD produced in Australia. It traces the fictional relationship between a family practitioner (Geoff) and one of his female patients (Lisa) as she make the transition from adolescence to adulthood, through snippets from consultations about contraception, marriage, pregnancy and caring for her young children. Lisa then develops breast cancer, and we watch how Geoff manages breaking the news, assisting her with treatment, remission, relapse and palliative care. Issues relating to after care for Lisa’s family are covered at the end.
Some of Geoff’s “qualities” as a doctor (empathy, openness, patient-centredness) are the very same factors which put him at risk of burn out and compassion fatigue. The story is told primarily through the eyes of the doctor, and we gain access to some of his “hidden thoughts”.
The primary goal of the DVD is to promote discussion about preventing burnout and compassion fatigue which can occur from managing emotionally draining situations in clinical practice. There is further opportunity to explore issues such as breaking bad new, support for colleagues, boundary issues and surviving the ups and downs of working with people at the end of their lives.
The DVD will be shown at the start of the workshop. This will then be followed by a facilitated discussion between participants. Discussion will focus on both personal responses of participants to the DVD, and also on how as practitioners we can best deal with the emotional challenges that arise in clinical practice.
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