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Advancing Progress and Possibilities for a Healthier Future

Raising the Bar

The demands placed on healthcare professionals today have never been greater. In recent years at Ochsner, we have put an increasing emphasis on finding better ways to support our medical professionals.

Dr. Nigel Girgrah serves as Ochsner’s first Chief Wellness Officer. He is also the section head of the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Ochsner.

The evidence is clear: with increased demands on time, resources and energy, healthcare professionals and physicians are experiencing burnout at higher rates than ever before. That’s why Ochsner created the Office of Professional Well-Being (OPW) in 2018 to enhance the well-being of Ochsner’s physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs) by determining the causes of physician and APP burnout — and devising solutions.

Ochsner was the first healthcare system in the state to establish a department dedicated to the wellness of physicians and APPs and remains among only a handful nationally. The objective: develop evidence-based solutions aimed at improving the overall health and well-being of provider teams across the system. Led by Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Nigel Girgrah and comprised of physicians, administrative leaders and frontline providers, their mission is to create an environment that promotes practice efficiency, resilience and a culture of wellness.

Overwhelming exhaustion. Feeling detached from the job or patients. A sense of ineffectiveness or loss of control. All of these can be indicators of burnout. OPW employs a multipart strategy to help Ochsner providers find the resources they need to avoid disengagement, reclaim joy and find harmony. Services fall within the areas of practice efficiency, mental wellness and physical wellness and include these work groups:

Personal Empowerment acts as a liaison between OPW and Ochsner Human Resources to ensure that providers have the support and tools needed to feel fulfilled and satisfied at work. The group’s goal is to promote work-life balance for providers.

Team-Based Transformation works to strengthen teamwork and existing infrastructures through assessments, coaching, team building and interaction. The group focuses on solving specific local issues to create a healthy team culture.

Practice Automation and Innovation strives to automate tasks and help physicians and APPs spend less time on after-hours paperwork to free up more room for personal and family time. One promising avenue: incorporating artificial intelligence into daily workflows, patient outreach and automating clerical tasks.

Improving the well-being of physicians and APPs is not done over a month or a year. Instead it’s a long-term endeavor that requires sustained commitment. OPW is committed to remaining engaged with these professionals — and finding impactful solutions that enhance their health. 

The Office of Professional Well-Being received the American
Medical Association Joy in Medicine designation
for Ochsner’s
commitment to improving the well-being of our physicians and
APPs. Ochsner is one of only 22 healthcare organizations in the
country to receive this recognition.