There are many strategies to improving healthcare professional wellness and reducing burnout. The critical importance of this issue has become well established, particularly over the past few years. What makes The Practices of the Healthcare Athlete unique amongst an ever more saturated field?
While reducing burnout amongst healthcare professionals is exceptionally important, The Practices of the Healthcare Athlete extends beyond this objective and aims to promote health, wellness, and high performance skills that can be applied in all aspects of life. Furthermore, the sustainability of this strategy is emphasized. This allows healthcare professionals to be at their best for themselves and those around them in all areas of life. This comprehensive approach includes all healthcare professionals, not only those who have experienced burnout. The pursuit of being at our best in all areas of life promotes and develops us as individuals, not solely as healthcare professionals.
By emphasizing the individual skills of high performance, The Practices of the Healthcare Athlete seek to develop agency and self-efficacy amongst all healthcare professionals. This pursuit of self-determination is aligned with the principles of humanistic psychology, pioneered by Albert Bandura and Abraham Maslow. This allows for the pursuit of mastery of self and self-actualization. While the influence of the healthcare system and culture are substantial when considering burnout, it is of paramount importance to promote and develop the self through the development of these skills.
Within the specific skills that are developed, The Practices of the Healthcare Athlete are comprehensive. Mind based and body based skills are developed so that each individual develops strategies that affect and improve all aspects of being. Each of the skills which are developed are science based, evidence backed, and real world tested. In particular, an emphasis is placed on the understanding and application of Polyvagal Theory. While details of this theory will be described further in future articles, it is important to recognize that Polyvagal Theory is the foundation for all our experiences as humans. It describes how our nervous system subconsciously and rapidly identifies and reacts to cues in the internal and external environment. Without intentionally applying the principles of this theory, we are not able to fully influence our experience and, therefore, our performance. In addition, the application of this theory allows us to positively impact the ability of others to be at their best and reach their full potential.
Another key aspect of The Practices of the Healthcare Athlete is the prioritization on recovery, not only physically but emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. As humans we all are in need of recovery and without an emphasis on this key skill the durability of our performance over time is limited. We want to be at our best and do so in a sustainable fashion over a long duration of time, not merely at our best for a short period of time.
High performance is not a random occurrence. It doesn’t happen accidentally. It requires deliberate and intentional practice. Consider those times where we are ‘in the zone’ and doing things efficiently at the best of our ability. Wouldn’t it be great to have more of those times, for longer durations of time, throughout all aspects of our life, and on a sustainable basis? This is the aim of The Practice of the Healthcare Athlete.