The auditorium at PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim transforms into a dance floor every Thursday evening. This is when a group of doctors keep aside their stethoscopes and practice Salsa steps for an hour.
“Dancing is a great stress buster for me,” said Dr Samir Dalvie, 41, a senior spine surgeon, who teaches the Salsa moves to a group of 12 doctors.
Dr Dalvie performs two to six intricate spine surgeries a day or sees 30 to 40 patients.
“The heavy instruments make the surgeries physically demanding. Sometimes I spend almost 12 to 13 hours in the operation theatre. Dancing helps me unwind,” said Dr Dalvie, whose dance class, started a year ago, leaves 66-year-old paediatrician and allergy-specialist, Dr Asha Pherwani, “feeling livelier”.
Erratic work schedules, high-pressure medical situations and little time to rest have always added to doctors’ stress levels.
Now, many hospitals have recognised the need to provide a breather to their employees and started initiatives such as dance and yoga classes, gyms and stress management centres.
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Andheri and LH Hiranandani Hospital in Powai have in-house gyms for their doctors.
“Looking after the organisation’s sustainability is a great responsibility. The gym workouts gives me and other staffers renewed energy to face each day afresh,” said Dr Sujit Chatterjee, CEO, Hiranandani Hospital.
Chatterjee is a regular visitor to the hospital’s cardiac rehab centre, which turns into a gym for doctors post-work hours.
According to Dr Suvin Shetty, 34, a pathologist with Hiranandani Hospital, doctors get little time to care for their own health. “I was never regular with my gym workouts earlier, but a hospital-based gym has changed everything. I am able to maintain my body’s biochemistry now,” he said.
At Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, the recreation room, gym, power yoga classes and massage chairs have come as a big relief for doctors.
“Back and neck pain are some of the occupational hazards of my profession. Doing yoga, stretches and cardio workouts is a great way to keep myself fit,” said Dr Manisha Soni, 45, a dental surgeon and mother of two.
Jaslok Hospital runs a stress management centre where doctors are taught relaxation techniques such as pranayam and yoga nidra.
“Many doctors and patients visit the centre as all are subject to stress today,” said Dr S Divgi, Jaslok’s honourary stress management consultant.