Unhealthy Healthcare Providers – An Irony That Needs to Change

June 27, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

It is way past the time to take off the blinders and see US healthcare for what it is – SICKCARE

There has been a slow, albeit deliberate evolution of America becoming a cult(ure) of pharmacology as our main healthcare system. Long ago are the days where Americans strived to be well, fit and overall healthy regardless of occasionally becoming sick or ill. Today it is widely acceptable for the majority of people to not really worry about being sick until it happens. And then a trip to the doctor for a prescription is usually the answer instead of making dietary or lifestyle adjustments. With these observations in mind, let’s contemplate the following:

Would you take your car to a mechanic who cannot fix your vehicle?

Trust a dentist who has rotten teeth?

Hire a lawyer with legal problems themselves?

Exercise with a trainer who is not in great shape?

Listen to a healthcare provider who is obviously unhealthy?

Don’t confuse the message. This is not about one particular health issue such as obesity, stress, depression, etc. It is about the mindset that in the US we seem to think that it is fine to not be responsible for being out of shape, sickly, or stressed because we can always rely upon a doctor for pharmaceuticals, surgery and other invasive procedures to fix our lifestyle choices. For immediate physical trauma, I would seek and except help from anyone willing to offer. Other chronic issues, not so much. Many healthcare workers enter the workforce with the intent to help others. Ironically, due to the stress and lifestyle spawned from their professions, many find themselves in the same vicious circle of poor health choices they advise others to avoid. Health care professionals can serve a higher calling or sense of purpose if they were actually striving to be a good example of health and wellness instead of just collecting a paycheck. An inspiration or warning to others, we can all choice what we have to offer regardless of our career path. Physician heal thyself.

The correlation we are observing between healthcare providers in the US and their seemingly poor physical and mental health can be attributed to several factors. It is important to note that while this correlation exists, it does not necessarily apply to every healthcare provider, as individual experiences can vary.

  • Demanding Work Environment: Healthcare providers often work in high-stress and demanding environments, which can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being. Long working hours, irregular shifts, and the pressure to provide quality care to patients can lead to chronic stress and burnout.
  • Emotional Toll: Healthcare providers frequently deal with emotionally challenging situations, such as witnessing patient suffering, providing end-of-life care, or facing difficult ethical decisions. These experiences can contribute to emotional exhaustion, compassion fatigue, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
  • High Workload: The US healthcare system often faces under-staffing and resource constraints, which can result in healthcare providers taking on heavy workloads. This can lead to increased stress levels, fatigue, and limited time for self-care activities.
  • Lack of Support and Recognition: Healthcare providers may not always receive adequate support from their organizations or superiors. Lack of recognition, insufficient resources, and limited opportunities for professional growth can contribute to feelings of frustration and job dissatisfaction.
  • Stigma around Seeking Help: There can be a stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues among healthcare providers. This stigma, coupled with the pressure to maintain a professional image, may discourage individuals from seeking the support they need.
  • Work-Life Imbalance: The demanding nature of healthcare work can make it challenging for providers to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Long hours, shift work, and irregular schedules can affect their ability to engage in self-care activities, spend time with loved ones, or pursue hobbies, leading to physical and mental health challenges.

Addressing these issues requires systemic changes within the healthcare industry, such as improving working conditions, promoting a culture of self-care and mental health support, and providing resources for healthcare providers to manage stress and prevent burnout. Organizations can play a crucial role in implementing policies that prioritize the well-being of their employees, including access to mental health services and support programs.

Additionally, healthcare providers themselves should be encouraged to prioritize self-care, seek support when needed, and engage in activities that promote their physical and mental well-being. Taking breaks, seeking therapy or counseling, engaging in regular exercise, maintaining social connections, and practicing stress management techniques can all contribute to better overall health.

Read and research some of my referenced links below if you care to delve further into this topic.


One Year On: Unhealthy Weight Gains, Increased Drinking Reported By Americans Coping With Pandemic Stress. (n.d.). NEWS-Line  for Mental Health Professionals. https://www.news-line.com/SY_news30737_One-Year-On:-Unhealthy-Weight-Gains,-Increased-Drinking-Reported-By-Americans-Coping-With-Pandemic-Stress

Can Overweight Docs Really Give Credible Weight Loss Advice? (2021, July 7). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20210707/overweight-doctors-credible-weight-loss-advice (ARTICLE NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

Reilly, J. M. (2007, March 1). Are Obese Physicians Effective at Providing Healthy Lifestyle Counseling? AAFP. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2007/0301/p738.html

American Medical Association. (2021, November 5). What doctors wish patients knew about physician burnout. https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/physician-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-physician-burnout

Battling the bulge — why nurses are prone to obesity. (2017, September 13). Financial Times. https://www.ft.com/content/ab4559ee-371f-11e7-99bd-13beb0903fa3

Shute, N. (2013, June 5). NPR Cookie Consent and Choices. NPR. https://choice.npr.org/index.html?origin=https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/06/05/188920874/fat-doctors-make-fat-patients-feel-better-and-worse

Cody, S. (2014, February 25). Where have all the healthy health care workers gone? Rep Man. https://www.repmanblog.com/repman/2014/02/where-have-all-the-healthy-health-care-workers-gone.html


I write often about topics that affect our health and well-being. Additionally, I teach and offer lecture about qigong, tai chi, baguazhang, and yoga.

For more info, contact Jim Moltzan at [email protected], 407-234-0119 or through my site at http://www.mindandbodyexercises.com


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