“The well-being of the physician is in peril,” says Blanding, who is also an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “I picture Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders, and I believe physicians feel this way. Sometimes we get bogged down by administrative requirements, which are important, but we need to emphasize we are patient care professionals who work in a health care environment. And for us to take the best care of our patients, we have to be at our best.”
Blanding attributes some of the stresses her colleagues face to the evolution of medical technology, constant access to information and feelings of isolation. She aims to ease some of those stresses at her institution through initiatives such as peer support groups, where providers can come together to discuss challenges and solutions. During Alumni Weekend in November, she also delivered the Notable Alumnus Lecture on “Maintaining the Joys of Medicine” to share insight with her fellow UF College of Medicine graduates.
“For me, the joy of medicine comes from being able to contribute something in a challenging environment and feeling like I’ve made a difference,” she says. “My mission is to be the best communicator, listener, team member, clinician and leader I can be. If we recognize our power and what we can do to improve lives — for our patients and for our team, and ourselves — that will only continue to increase the joy we get.”