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by Dr. Hassan Tetteh

The Art of Human Care is the ultimate lifesaving success strategy. I know this because the art of human care, embodied in purpose, personalization, and partnership, saved my life. At every stage of my medical career, I lost friends and colleagues to burnout, a departure from the profession of medicine, and, in extreme cases, suicide. Friends and colleagues that will never practice the art of human care because of a life cut short. Doctors who will never save a life because no one could help save their life. Twenty years ago, the term, “burnout” was not as well defined or studied as it is today. A 2019 Harvard study by Joel Goh and colleagues determined the problem of burnout was not just a problem impacting physician happiness. Burnout has severe implications for healthcare and costs an estimated $4.6 billion, due to reduced hours, turn over, and the expenses associated with finding and replacing physicians that leave the profession.

Burnout among physicians is roughly double that of the general population and, yet, the root cause of the problem is multifactorial—including emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism, detachment from work, and low personal accomplishment. Over the past ten years, I reflected deeply on this subject, thought about my friends and colleagues lost to burnout, depression, and suicide...