I’m not the first to think / under my breath, even out loud: / To test positive for Covid. / Even after this morning.
Remember why you’re here. Remember what you value. Decide what your ‘meaningful suffering’ is and don’t waver. For if we do, we too may one day find ourselves running down the hall, away from the very reason we decided to become doctors.
In this interview, we talk to Dr. Stephen J. Swensen. He is dedicated to the support of thoughtful leaders who aspire to nurture fulfillment of their staff. He is a recognized expert, researcher and speaker in the disciplines of leadership and burnout.
As I reviewed the notes, it occurred to me that many of my peers and I have displayed some of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Our professor’s lectures emphasized the importance of recognizing these features in patients, but what about identifying them in ourselves? Should it also be our duty to recognize the signs and symptoms in our colleagues?
In this episode, we interview Hamza Khan. Hamza is a multi-award winning marketer, best-selling author and global keynote speaker whose TEDx talk “Stop Managing, Start Leading” has been viewed over a million times. He is a top-ranked university educator, serial entrepreneur and respected thought leader whose insights have been featured by notable media outlets such as VICE, Business Insider and The Globe and Mail.
This piece is focused on the applications of empathy and compassion in decision-making. How can we distinguish between them? In its simplest form, empathy deals with feelings while compassion deals with understanding.
Anxiety defined me more when I denied its existence than it does now that I’ve faced it head-on. Maybe the anxiety helped me get to where I was, but it was a burden I didn’t have to bear — especially not alone. Even knowing how important mental health is as a future physician, it embarrassed me to admit that I might need a prescription to help me cope with my fears and anxieties.
And with scientific advancements came cures and treatments that the healers of antiquity could have never imagined. However, these advances came at the cost of appreciating a holistic approach to health. How pitiful is it when a profession which was once completely focused on healing the whole person must now devote entire conferences and countless seminars to finding ways of injecting that back into both its practitioners and the people they serve?
They say to be tough is to have thick skin, but I say to have thick tears. / Skin? It can collect pimples, papercuts, and pus, can be scratched, scraped, and sliced.
Many medical schools today offer wellness programs that aim to strengthen the ability to cope with the demands of curricula through techniques such as mindfulness. However, although these efforts are well-intentioned, they have yet to completely resolve the issues of isolation. It is critical for students and faculty to explore innovative methods to tackle feelings of isolation, such as through the use of improvisational and comedic theater.
In the middle of my second year of medical school, I began noticing early signs and symptoms of burnout. The stress, anxiety and diminishing joy terrified me because I wondered: How could I already be burned out when I had not even studied for Step 1 or started rotations at the hospital? Were there any remedies to what I was experiencing?
To keep breathing does not mean to go at it alone or to put up a brave front even when it feels as if the world is collapsing. To keep breathing is to always push towards the goal even when it’s hard and even when it doesn’t feel worth because it will be in the end.