Surgeons need to take care of themselves as well as their patients

  • Surgeon
30 Jun 2020

At ProMedical, your mental health matters to us. As surgeons, you hold an ever-increasing busy and responsible position, particularly during the Covid-19 surge you may have had to leave your familiar comfort zone to run to the frontline at short notice. This can cause extreme stress and anxiety as demonstrated by Lai et al., where 70% and 50% of 1257 health care workers (40% frontline professionals) in China reported symptoms of distress and depression, respectively. 1

Now, as you begin to take on the backlog of postponed scheduled operations, it looks to be a challenging time ahead. Your patients perhaps will be more worried than previously as they question their safety about having surgery in the ‘new normal’.

To support you and help you with your mental health, we captured some of the best apps with tips to help you relax and unwind after a difficult and long day operating.

 

Top five relaxation Apps for Surgeons

 

  1. Headspace

    Headspace, one of the most well-known meditation apps out there has lots to offer its user. This evidence-backed popular App in mindfulness and Meditation provides tools and resources to help you reduce stress, build resilience, and sleep better.

    As a little thank you, your NHS is offering free access to all NHS staff with an NHS email address and is available until 31 December 2020 and is active now. 

    How NHS staff can get access:

    Go to https://www.headspace.com/nhs for NHS staff to access, and you will need to use your NHS email address to sign up.2

    Alternatively, you can download Headspace: Free download, then optional subscription £9.99/month, £44.99/year, iOS/Android

  2. Stop, Breathe, Think

    Recommended techniques in Meditation on this App are based on your emotions. So, you use the App to help identify how you are feeling, then reduce your anxiety, stress, breathe deeply, or sleep better with the short, guided meditations, yoga, and acupressure videos. Why not track your mood and overall progress, and check-in with yourself daily?

    Stop, Breathe & Think: Free download, optional subscription £9.99/month, £54.99/year), iOS/Android

  3. Unmind

    Unmind is a unique app in mental health, with a platform that empowers people to improve their mental wellbeing proactively.

    With the use of scientific-backed assessments, tools, and training, you can manage your own mental health needs, including programmes designed to help you cope with stress, sleep, anxiety, and general healthy living.

    Unmind is also offering free access to NHS staff until the end of December 2020, which is active now. 
     
    How NHS staff can get access:

    Go to nhs.unmind.com/signup - Sign up with your NHS email address. Download the Unmind App. 2

     

  4. Calm

    https://www.calm.com/

    This popular long-running App has excellent proved features to help ‘calm’ your mood, relax you, aid sleep patterns, and support relaxation. Why not turn it on and allow it to take you on a journey of calm oasis after a long day in the theatre.

    Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play.

    Calm: Free one-week trial, then £28.99/year, iOS/Android

     

  5. Insight Timer

https://insighttimer.com/

This free smartphone app has support featuring music, sleep aids, stress-busting meditations and talks by experts.

Whether you want to improve the quality of your sleep, manage stress, or cultivate a peaceful space in your mind, this App has lots to offer.

Download it on the Appstore to revel in its benefits.

Conclusion

So there you have it, what we believe to be excellent apps to help hard-working surgeons relax. With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD awareness month upon us, the use of relaxation Apps is poignantly echoed in the post-lockdown period we find ourselves in. Especially for healthcare frontline workers who have witnessed Covid-19 related stressful moments, we urge you to seek out support, apply the App that suits you, and always mind your mental health.

As  a former surgical nurse, I have trialled many apps to help relax and unwind after work, and these five apps relate well to the needs of staff in healthcare settings and are evidence-based.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7283775/
  2. https://www.nhsemployers.org/news/2020/03/free-access-to-wellbeing-apps-for-all-nhs-staff?fbclid=IwAR0mExsRnuBcj3FdkGK1jMDd08veVydjz3aTMFE7G88AxYf7Z36Ko8pq31g

 

Sources

Unmind – Our NHS People. https://people.nhs.uk/help/support-apps/unmind/

 

Helpful Resources

  1. The British Psychological Society (guide for leaders and managers)

https://www.bps.org.uk/sites/www.bps.org.uk/files/News/News%20%20Files/Psychological%20needs%20of%20healthcare%20staff.pdf

  1. ORCHA COVID19 Health App Formulary

https://covid19.orcha.co.uk/

  1. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (selfcare tips and resources)

https://www.aomrc.org.uk/covid19mentalwellbeing/

https://www.aomrc.org.uk/covid19mentalwellbeing/#14658577812440a5bb4eda2d0

  1. Patient Health Questionnaire9 (PHQ9)

https://patient.info/doctor/patienthealthquestionnairephq9

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder7 (GAD7)

https://patient.info/doctor/generalisedanxietydisorderassessmentgad7

  1. Impact of Events Scale—Revised (IESR)

https://www.cpft.nhs.uk/PDF/Miscellaneous/PTSD%20top%20tips%20for%20GPs.pdf

  1. Zung's selfassessment scales

http://www.mentalhealthministries.net/resources/flyers/zung_scale/zung_scale.pdf

http://www.mentalhealthprofessionalsinc.com/Forms/Zung_SelfRating_Anxiety_Scale.pdf

  1. FACE COVID

https://www.baps.org.uk/content/uploads/2020/03/FACECOVIDbyRussHarrispdfpdf.pdf

  1. Royal College of Psychiatrists (telemedicine consultation)

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/aboutus/respondingtocovid19/respondingtocovid19guidanceforclinicians/digitalcovid19guidanceforclinicians

30 Jun 2020
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