the wellness wheel

Written by Rita A. Manfredi, MD FACEP

The American College of Emergency Physicians views wellness as so critical to the success of an Emergency physician, WELLNESS WEEK 2016, sponsored by ACEP, will take place from Jan 24 to Jan 30, 2016, available free of charge to all members.  

So what is wellness and why do we care? As human beings and emergency physicians we all hope to be well, but wellness is more than just the absence of sickness. Many people and organizations have attempted to define wellness more precisely.

The World Health organization has distilled wellness to “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.”

The National Wellness Institute sees wellness as an evolving process through which a person achieves his or her full potential.

We can think of Wellness as a Wheel with separate spokes. Each spoke is critical for the wheel to keep turning. Similarly, wellness is multidimensional. By looking at Wellness this way we can see how these elements are interconnected and contribute to how we live. However, each emergency physician may choose to prioritize these spokes in a different way.



The Occupational Spoke Are you satisfied with Emergency Medicine and the job you do in your own department? Remember why you chose Emergency Medicine as your career. There was something very compelling about becoming an emergency physician. Can you recall what that was? Your aim is to enrich your life through your work in Emergency Medicine.

The Emotional Spoke  Emergency Medicine is fast-paced and stressful. As Emergency Physicians we have to acknowledge what we are feeling, rather than deny our emotions. We may be annoyed with consultants or difficult patients but we have the power to choose how we will behave and manage these feelings. Optimism and maintaining satifying relationships with others are key to wellness.

The Physical Spoke Exercising enough, eating well, getting adequate sleep, and paying attention to the signs of illness and getting treatment when needed play a big role in physical wellness. Emergency physicians who are in good shape will reap the psychological benefits of greater self-esteem and self-control.

The Financial Spoke  Being financially secure is a key component to your effectiveness as an emergency physician. Part of financial wellness is to develop a PLAN by establishing goals such as providing for your family, paying your monthly bills, planning for your children’s education, and creating a nest egg that provides for a comfortable retirement and future travel. You can measure your progress and be confident of the result.

The Spiritual Spoke       What gives you meaning and purpose in Emergency Medicine? Is it the art of helping and healing? The spiritual dimension will be characterized by times of peaceful harmony interspersed with with rocky times of disappointment, doubt, and fear. In Emergency Medicine, every day we have these experiences which cause us to adapt and bring meaning to our existence.

The Social Spoke   .How are you relating to others in the ED and in your life outside the deparment? Developing effective relationships with colleagues, patients, friends, and our families indicates social wellness.

The Intellectual Spoke   As our specialty continually changes and evolves, having an open mind in emergency medicine is critical. Sharing what you know with others in the ED can be stimulating and serve as a way to challenge yourself.

Applying a wellness approach is valuable to every Emergency physician. WELLNESS WEEK 2016 will be 7 days of virtual events addressing all 7 spokes of the Wellness Wheel with special offers designed to engage emergency department caregivers in radical self care. You can choose which wellness wheel spoke you want to focus on during WELLNESS WEEK by filling out a pledge card. Electronic articles, daily tweets, and email wellness tips will be showcased during the week.

Join everyone in ACEP for a round of wellness that we hope will continue long after WELLNESS WEEK 2016 is over.



  2. Hettler, Bill ; Six dimensions of Wellness Model 1976,, National wellness Institute, Inc.

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