Systemic challenges and resiliency in rural family practice
Sarah Lesperance1, Nahid Rahimipour Anaraki2, Shabnam Ashgari2, AnnMarie Churchill3
1 Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland; Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
2 Department of Family Medicine, Centre for Rural Health Studies, Faculty of Medicine, Primary Healthcare Research Unit, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada
3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada
MD, CCFP Sarah Lesperance
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland; Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Introduction: The objective of our study was to understand how Canadian rural family physicians (RFPs) define and use resilience strategies to maintain their roles as generalists and resist burnout, while also understanding how organisational supports and systems may play a role.
Methods: This was a qualitative study of RFPs with at least 1 year of experience working in rural Canada. Data were collected via semi-structured, in-depth interviews using a grounded theory approach. The participant recruitment process involved purposive and theoretical sampling, and was stopped when theoretical saturation was reached.
Results: RFPs identified the following five themes related to resilience: (1) powerlessness, (2) strained work/life balance, (3) colleagues as supportive or straining, (4) living under the microscope and (5) compassion fatigue or empathy. Strategies to enhance resilience were identified at personal, community and organisational levels by participants.
Conclusion: Enhancing RFPs' awareness of the specific individual and organisational strategies, as well as system-oriented solutions to maintain resilience, is of benefit to RFPs and rural and remote communities across Canada.