Medical Staff Wellness

June 6, 2023

One physician’s story and resources

I’m not sure if it was the third COVID surge, the second cancelled vacation, or maybe just looking at that same neatly folded five pairs of scrubs that I had been laundering each week for over two years.  Whatever the final straw was, I found myself looking in the mirror at a doctor that was no longer as compassionate as she wished and no longer the energetic leader or supporter of the staff that was depending on her.  I knew I could carry on competently but was missing joy, hope, and a feeling of connection to those around me. That was the day I set up an appointment with a therapist.

I suspect that if I had been severely clinically depressed or hobbled by addictions, that simple step might have felt insurmountable. Left unchecked, these issues might have threatened my patients’ safety. For situations such as these, the Medical Staff Wellness Committee was formed. 

We are a group of self-selected members of the medical staff with training or interest in physician wellness, some of us with specific expertise in treating mood disorders and/or substance use disorders.  The group is designed to be available to you before department heads or the Medical Executive Committee needs to be involved. We aren’t required to report referrals if patient care is not jeopardized.  We are tasked with pointing you to resources that you may need help accessing. To that end, you will see a QR code for Wellspring in the footer of each issue of this newsletter, making information on first line support easily accessible. If you use this free-to-you service, your name will never be shared with the medical staff office or others in your workplace. 

Spurred by the epidemic of physician suicides, in January 2023, Washington state adopted landmark changes to wording in the medical licensing attestation questions. They no longer ask whether you have ever had a mental health diagnosis or treatment but rather restrict the question to current illness or impairment. Medical Staff credentialing has rapidly followed suit.

Therapy, medical treatment for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders have never been more confidential for us and for our colleagues. Whether you’re helping a friend or helping yourself, feel confident in our ability to help you take that first step with compassion and confidentiality. Please feel free to message me at

Erin Kershisnik, MD
Vantage Physicians
3703 Ensign Rd. NE, STE 10 A
Olympia, WA 98506

 [MAL1]Link to wellspring here

Previous Article
CMO Message: June 2023

Next Article
Recognize the importance of Pronouns