Most of us choose a career in medicine for the right reasons. We do it because we want to help people and there is no cause nobler than decreasing or eliminating unnecessary suffering. Unfortunately, the daily grind of the profession itself sometimes makes us forget about the original purpose of our chosen profession.
Studies of medical trainees show that burnout is extremely common, with 28-45% of medical students and 27-75% of residents experiencing burnout. Seasoned physicians do not fare any better. One of the key features of burnout is depersonalization, which involves negative, callous, and detached responses to others.
So the question is: if many of us are burned out before we even complete our medical training, how do we get our humanity back? How do we treat patients the way they want and need to be treated as people? How do we treat our patients the way we imagined treating them when we chose to be doctors in the first place?