I warn you against all ambitious aspirations outside our profession. Medicine is the most difficult of sciences and the most laborious of arts. It will task all your powers of body and mind if you are faithful to it....The great practitioners are generally those who concentrate all their powers on their business.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, M.D.


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Life in Practice
Managing one's own stresses is the toughest part of practicing medicine. - Oscar London M.D., W.B.D.

"As I learned through hard experience, the practice of medicine is a black hole that can absorb every moment you will give. It's easy to become so devoted to your patients that you neglect the people who matter most to you." - Matthew D. Foster, MD in Medical Economics 10/23/95

Practicing medicine is hard. Consider this recent article:


   A major magazine annually lists top-rated physicians in the country. Generally, these are based on physician peer ratings and supplemented with information from patient surveys and physician-treatment patterns. While most physicians look forward to reading their names in the list..., those not impressed with the survey are the physicians' spouses.
   "We pay the price," said the nonphysician husband of a Midwestern winner. "We do the chores, plan family and social activities, and arrange most other activities of daily living. What most concerns us is that our physician-mates give so much emotional support to their patients and colleagues that there is often very little left to share with us." - from an article by Dr. Xenakis in the 6/97 issue of Cortlandt Forum

and this very old article:

"...my wife and I had come to realize one of the chief difficulties of the family doctor -- the constant drain upon the emotions. To stand helplessly while relentless organisms destroy a beautiful mother, a fine father, or a beloved child, creates terrible emotional distress; and this feeling is increased by the necessity of suppression. That is why the average lifetime of family doctors is 55 years, most of them succumbing to functional impairment"

Joseph A. Jerger, M.D., written in 1939

Here are some resources to help:


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