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ACP I.M. Thriving is an every other month newsletter that highlights learnings, news, and resources in the intersection of well-being and professional fulfillment, quality, and team-based care. Please complete the form to receive the I.M. Thriving newsletter in your inbox. Questions? E-mail acpwellbeing@acpprograms.org.

July 19, 2024

ACP Well-being Champions: Promoting Well-being Through Creativity


"True creativity in general depends on a thinker's progressive, antithetical mode of thought being strong enough to transcend the limitations of his old paradigm ... but this process is never a clean one."

Elio Frattaroli, MD, Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain

In today's health care systems, much emphasis is placed on evidence-based practices and standardization of services. The goal is to reduce uncertainty in favor of practices that produce predictable outcomes, yet some caution that "with this drive towards uniformity, standardization, and control comes a suspicion towards intuition, creativity and uncertainty as integral parts of … practice. " Is the ability to use one's own creativity important to clinical decision-making practices and physician well-being? Sometimes the answers to clinical issues are not clear, and there may be a need to embrace doubt and uncertainty to reach the truth.

Creativity needs a certain amount of courage to put oneself out there. In addition to courage, there must be some ability to sit with uncertainty for creativity and change to emerge. A necessary condition for creativity is holding the tension that exists along a dialectical edge, especially when we can recognize the desire within to want to smooth over or get rid of things that may be frustrating or feel uncomfortable.

Engaging in creative activities, such as art, music, or dance, or even playing games can be a way to practice sitting with uncertainty and discomfort while bringing awareness to the current moment. Studies have shown that the arts can enhance mental, physical, and social health, as well as evoke a "comforting effect that can offset stress associated with working in a healthcare environment, facilitate improved staff and patient interaction and rapport building, and create an encouraging hospital experience."

While making room for play and creative activities can seem impossible in a physicians' busy schedule, for this month's I.M. Thriving, we're providing you with some tips and ideas to infuse creativity, play, and mindfulness into your everyday routine. Take a look at some galleries of art made by physicians here and here, or print out some coloring pages curated by ACP Well-being staff to leave at your desk or in your break room to encourage your employees to take a brief moment out of their day to engage in a creative activity to reset and recharge.

Check out the links below for resources you can use for yourself and others:

  • Explore the Professional Fulfillment Zone, where you will find the latest updates from ACP's Professional Development and Fulfillment Team, including National Abstract Competition winners and an updated Dashboard for Well-being Champions (WBCs).
  • Read about the first ever White House Summit on Arts and Culture, NEA's Military Healing Arts Network, Empathy as a Key to Patient Satisfaction, and ACP's Performance Measures Reviews; also, connect to creative resources for well-being.
  • Learn the importance of conquering imposter syndrome; how we show up as physicians; and partnership, power, and social health in the workplace.
  • Review Patients Before Paperwork and advocacy updates that affect physician well-being and professional fulfillment.
  • Explore WBC coaching resources, including coaching sign-ups, the WBC contact list, a library of well-being interventions, and the WBC journey map. Find out how chapters can partner with WBCs (WBC Exclusive; must be signed in to ACP online).
  • Utilize just-in-time well-being skills for yourself and to teach others, and explore tools to create a well-being program tailored to any organization's needs and budget.
  • Visit the I.M. Emotional Support Hub and Video Series to learn more about individual and organizational strategies and resources to protect clinicians' emotional health and well-being.

We look forward to hearing from you! Post in the ACP Connect app WBC community and/or reach out to us via e-mail anytime with your thoughts and suggestions for newsletter topics and features.


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