Joy in the Work: Helping Others Overcomes Physician Burnout

By Deepti Thomas Paulose, MD

Physician burnout. I don’t think I go a day without opening up a news piece about this topic.  I’d like to avoid it. In fact, I believe that my being a physician represents a positive force in my life. I believe the lack of sleep, off work hours, night shifts, missed recitals and PTA meetings, increased bureaucracy, paperwork and scrutiny are all worth it for the privilege of being a physician because the positives outweigh the negatives immensely. What other field allows you to meet another human being at a moment of suffering and allows you to guide that individual through?  When you do it right, you receive the everyday responses:  the meeting of eyes, the thank-you's, and the tears. 

I get to experience this human connection on almost every shift and at the end of the day, I am filled to the brim.  I would go to medical school again in a heartbeat and would be so proud if my children did the same.  I am thankful I am not sitting at a desk all day long pushing money around or reading long legal briefs. I’d like this experience for my colleagues and I would like to hear it from others. I’d like to encourage others to join the ranks and be inspired to help others daily, in every day encounters that can mean so much to both patient and provider.  We can help ourselves by appreciating with humility the impact we have on our patients’ lives.  

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