We usually start some of our trainings in #humantools remembering those moments (remote for some) in which we make the decision to dedicate our professional future to health care. We took a decision, ruling out others, probably moved by what, a priori, we consider as characteristics of our professions: principle of service, respect for dignity and compassion among others.

Wrapped in the daily maelstrom,  these values sometimes (often) remain in the background and after a while, almost half of the professionals end up rethinking that work decision. In some cases, an erroneous decision is simply identified later, and that is not bad; it’s always time to redirect. But the unfortunate thing is to detect that, loving your profession, many conditions influence that you do not develop your work in a satisfactory way.

And we were in this, when we stumbled upon a publication in The Guardian: Isabel Hanson and Safdar Ahmed summarize in a fantastic way those sensations and some of the motives that propitiate them, from the perspective of Grace, a young doctor.

We asked Isabel and Safdar to lend us their history (because we could not tell it better than them) and just a few minutes later, they sent us (thanks to both for your generosity), to open a reflection on the matter with all of you  from this blog.

Without the intention of making spoilers, we reveal the end: “The health system is made by people (like you) and can be changed by people (like you)”

And this is the story of Grace: The story of a first-year doctor and a widower in the hospital.

By José Manuel Velasco

References and further lectures

1 Brancati F. The Art of Pimping. JAMA. 1989;262(1):89–90.

2 Scott K, Caldwell P, Barnes E, Barrett J. “Teaching by Humiliation” and mistreatment of medical students in clinical rotations: a pilot study. Med J Aust. 2015; 203 (4): 185.

3 The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018 [cited 2018 16 Nov 18]. Available from: http://nap.edu/24994

4 Rodriguez-Paz JM, Kennedy M, Salas E, et al Beyond “see one, do one, teach one”: toward a different training paradigm. BMJ Quality & Safety 2009;18:63–68.

5 Neumann M, Edelhäuser F, Tauschel D, Fischer M, Wirtz M, Woopen C, et al. Empathy Decline and Its Reasons: A Systematic Review of Studies With Medical Students and Residents. Acad Med. 2011;86(8):996–1009.

6 Beyond Blue. National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students. 2013 [cited 2018 16 Nov 18]. Available from: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/research-project-files/bl1132-report—nmhdmss-full-report_web

This project received funding from the Harold and Gwenneth Harris Endowment for Medical Humanities, Harris Fellowship 2017, reference HF-2017–6.

The views expressed in the comic are our own and are not representative of Royal Price Alfred Hospital or the RPAH Resident Medical Officers Association.