Tag Archives: burnout

Thriving in the face of uncertainty

Sally Mather Chris Millard Ian Sabroe Sheffield, England   The experience of uncertainty has appeared as a frequent narrative in articles, autobiographies, and memoirs written by doctors over the last century. A persistent belief that better training, tests, evidence, and pathways will reduce uncertainty has not been borne out in the experience of contemporary clinicians. […]

The Plague and physician burnout

Geoffrey Rubin Mark Abrams D. Edmund Anstey New York, New York, United States   [Bedside scenes: Doctors visit patient]. 1534. The National Library of Medicine. In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague,1 Doctor Rieux is a consummate physician, a hero and a “true healer.” His main charge is to compassionately perform his duty—a matter, in his […]

Spinoza and medical practice: can the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza enrich the thinking of doctors?

Norelle Lickiss Hobart, Tasmania, Australia   Portrait of Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677), ca. 1665. Unknown. circa 1665. Gemäldesammlung der Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany. As doctors we seek to assuage the distress of our patients by relieving symptoms, guarding personal dignity, and remaining present even as they are dying. Yet despite these lofty goals, there […]

Burnout: Are we looking at it through the wrong lens?

Elizabeth Cerceo Camden, New Jersey, USA   The Exhausted Ragpicker. Jean François Raffaëlli. 1880. The Art Institute of Chicago. The epidemic of burnout seems to afflict ever more populations as it insidiously creeps into the workplace of everyone from nurses to teachers, from medical students to seasoned clinicians, from Amazon to Apple. As physicians, we […]

Notre Dame and gratitude

Elizabeth Cerceo Camden, New Jersey, USA   Notre Dame de Paris, brandend. April 15, 2019. Photograph by Milliped on Wikimedia. On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned. This event highlighted the integral nature of art and beauty in our culture. We often take for granted the beauty that surrounds us and stands […]

Defining medicine

Amira Athanasios Walnut Creek, California, USA   Image by Amira Athanasios Defining Medicine. The bolded script screamed at me from a massive poster hung six stories high along the side of the university hospital on my first day of medical school. Like most millennials, I pursued medicine with a deep conviction to make a difference. […]

Burnout

Ronald Rembert Chicago, Illinois, USA   Sarasota Sunset, courtesy of author. 2005. I was assigned to work at Cook County Hospital for my emergency room (ER) clerkship in my third year of medical school. “Whoa, that place is crazy . . . you will see a lot a people there,” I was told by a […]

Between Frames: liminality and the emergence of self

Jane Persons Iowa City, Iowa, USA   Human hippocampus, 2X magnification, Luxol fast blue stain. Photo credit: Karra Jones, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Department of Pathology, Iowa City, Iowa, United States The development of compassion, along with wisdom, skill, and communication, is pivotally important to the practice of medicine.1 Perhaps even more importantly, development of […]

Fighting the long defeat

John Brewer Eberly, Jr.  Columbia, South Carolina, United States   Arcata Mill fire. May 1965. Photograph by Peter E. Palmquist (1936-2003). “Together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”1  — J. R. R. Tolkien   In May 1965, a fire started on the ground floor of the Sound Lumber Company in […]