It’s crucial for patients and health care providers to consider their personal wellbeing in their daily lives.
As burnout continues among health care professionals, Renata Block, MMS, PA-C, board-certified dermatology physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine, LLC, in Chicago, Illinois, and a Dermatology Times® Editorial Advisory Board member discusses the importance of mental and physical wellness. Block stresses that taking care of your mental and physical self is important for both patients and health care professionals.
“My best de-stressor is exercise. I cannot tell you how much that has changed my life, my mindset, my body, and it all around creates clarity,” said Block.
Renata Block, MMS, PA-C: Hi, my name is Renata Block, I am a dermatology physician assistant and the immediate past president of the SDPA, which is the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants.
Dermatology Times®: How does physical and mental stress affect health care professionals and patients?
Block: You know, life is stress; life is very stressful. I think, in today's society, we are spread very thin. We're expected to do so much. And I speak from a personal level as well, because I love a challenge, I love working under pressure, I think I work very well under that. But it can create a toll and understanding how you can deal with it by finding balance, by finding coping mechanisms that work well for you, will then be able to discuss those with the patient.
Skin disease can be a manifestation of what's happening from within. And a lot of times when patients come into the clinic, and they're flared, with psoriasis, eczema, or with acne, my first question is to them “what is happening, what's happening in your life.” And you know, that's when they kind of break down and say, “oh, my God, nobody's ever even asked me that. I am very stressed; I'm stressed at my job and stress with my kids.” And it's like, this floodgate just opens up. But the conversation needs to happen. Because when you really think about it, when you find that coping mechanism, and you're able to create boundaries, when you're able to understand why you're in the position you're at, it will help manage your life. And sometimes we can get lost, because we're just always going and to take that step back, I think is the first thing that you need to do in your life as a provider. And, and then share that experience with your patient and have that light bulb moment for them. Because it does happen. And I see it's kind of like that ‘aha’ moment in the room. And it creates very good communication and connections with them as well. Because they know that you understand.
Dermatology Times®: How do you de-stress?
Block: My best de-stressor is exercise. I cannot tell you how much that has changed my life, my mindset, my body, and how it all around creates clarity. And if you feel good, then you feel like you can conquer the world. And I think the problem is making time for that and really scheduling time for you. You know, I always look at that analogy when you're on the plane and they're like ‘put on your breathing mask first and then help others,’ and that is so true. You can't pour from an empty cup. You have to help yourself and if you're empty, then you're not going to provide any benefit to anyone. So, you have to think of yourself first.
Transcript edited for clarity
For more content from nurse practitioners and physician assistants, visit our NP & PA page.