A Physician’s Plea.

A medical student. A simple question.

“How am I supposed to go on caring?”

At the time, suggestions abound.
Work-life balance. Self-care. Hobbies.
Remembering our initial calling.
Remembering we still make a difference.
Remembering our love for medicine
and the privilege we have as caregivers.

But then the realization-
I don’t know the answer.

I only know that I have witnessed around me-
at every stage of training and practice-
evidence of emotional exhaustion.
Dissatisfaction.
Disillusionment.

Burnout.

So this is my plea.

A plea-
to students,
to colleagues,
to practitioners,
but–even more–
to myself.
A plea as we 
embark further into
the world of medicine.

A plea-
never to lose the satisfaction
we experience in caring for others–
the thrill savored
when we supported our first patient,
the warmth felt when families embraced us,
entrusting us with their care,
their health,
their lives.

A plea–
to preserve our love,
our burden,
our heart–
for mankind.

That despite challenges faced,
we refuse to lose what we have gained.
That despite the obstacles
in an ever-changing environment–
despite the self-doubt, criticism, personal struggles–
despite the constant immersion into death and suffering
and the consequent self-preservatory layers
of emotional shield–

Despite everything.

That we would continue
to feel,
to love,
to enjoy–
Medicine.
Our patients.
Our calling.
Life.

Because this is my hope for the future.

That we would never lose the simple joy of helping others

58 Comments on “A Physician’s Plea.

  1. As a medical student, i found immense value in your poem Dr. Phoebe. A very much needed beautiful message and fantastic video reading! –mollika (curefortheitch)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful and inspirational for anyone embarking upon this career or any career that makes a positive difference, no matter what stage you are at. There are always ups and downs in life, setbacks, times when we lose our way, question why we made certain decisions because of the pain experienced, the loss, suffering, or things don’t look as great as you hoped they would…So the answer of bringing you back to your purpose, and the delight in the positives, and your impact on humanity, the care for people, environment, wildlife, pets… health, while acknowledging the negatives, has immense strength, in renewal of purpose and motivation. Excellent Phoebe!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. …to feel,
    to love,
    to enjoy–
    Medicine.
    Our patients.
    Our calling.
    Life.
    May you be blessed to have all the above and enough happiness always, Doc ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Medicine is a difficult and emotional field. I have had nineteen surgeries since 2009 and am a total care patient. I have nurses and aids come to my home as well. I have conversations with much medical staff including my doctors (we have become very close over the last ten years). As you know, I have several specialists. We often speak about how hard it is not to get jaded or insensitive to a patient’s needs. But, many patients can be difficult to treat and also have bad attitudes. I am thankful for this post. It’s like a prayer. You have covered each aspect entirely. I pray for my caregivers often. I am most fortunate to have a team of excellent doctors and home care staff. God bless your servant’s heart. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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