A happy doctor means happier patients (usually). Some studies mention a set of wellbeing practices that are correlated with the feeling of happiness (BMJ). I tried to summarize them in the mnemonic MOTORS because the pursuit of happiness in its altruistic sense can be the motor of your life.
“MOTORS” stands for:
M eaning --> find a meaning in what you do for a living but don't forget to set limits around it
O utlook --> have a positive outlook on life. Be philosophical but also focused on success
T ime --> spend quality time with F&F (Family & Friends)
O ut of of yuppie values --> don't focus on chasing money or prestige
R eligious / spiritual practices
S elf care practices like sports, meditation
All these 6 features are correlated with feeling happier and some of them even with living longer. Check out the Advice to young doctors from members of the BMJ's editorial board
Much more on being a happy doctor can be found on the BMJ career website loaded with some excellent advice from the experts.
A Piece of My Mind - JAMA
One of my favorite readings is A Piece of My Mind in JAMA. Some call it the soul of JAMA. It is a reflection of the things that go through your mind and soul when we treat patients and think about them. Because everybody who has been involved in medicine knows that your worries about a patient does not end when you leave the hospital or the office after working hours. No, they come home with you and you have to share them with somebody. Authors who write A Piece of My Mind share them with us and it often brings a tear in your eye. But that's OK. This is what makes us human and that was one of the reasons why we chose to study medicine many, many years ago, remember...By the way A Piece of My Minds is one of Dr.Christie's favorite readings as well.
You need to be an AMA member to get free access to JAMA online. If the issue is more than one year old the access is free.
Brave, Waiting for Pasteur by Brendan M. Reilly - A Piece of My Mind - JAMA
Dr.Reilly reflects on his thoughts about a homeless man who came to Cook County Hospital. If you have visited the old CCH you should remember the Pasteur monument in front of it with the engraving:
One doesn't ask of one who suffers,
What is your country and what is your religion?
One merely says, you suffer, this is enough for me,
You belong to me, and I shall help you.
Gomer by Michael D. Burg - A Piece of My Mind - JAMA 10/04
How does it feel to be the patient that you see every day?
"I know you’re talking about me. I can hear you in here, in room number 3 near the nurses station. I’m the "septic gallbladder." Occasionally one of you calls me just "sepsis" or "the gallbladder..."
For the Obscure Researcher by Daniel Shapiro - A Piece of My Mind - JAMA
Daniel Shapiro reflects on the physician who discovered his disease more than 100 years ago - Thomas Hodgkin. "Your manuscript sat on a shelf, untouched...Thirty years later your manuscript was pulled from the shelf by another scientist and your work was finally appreciated. The disease I carried was named for you. Hodgkin's disease. But by then, of course, you had months to live."
A Great Case by Jerome Groopman - Perspective on Doctors and Patients - NEJM 11/04
You never, ever want to be a "great case". Why do we put this label on our patients then?
The power of song by Ian Nesbitt - A memorable patient - BMJ 11/04
"Like most doctors, I have seen a great many deaths...It was a strange and humbling experience, and has taught me much more than the fact that dying in intensive care does not have to be undignified."
I Want To Go Home by Cynthia X. Pan, et al. - On Being a Doctor - Ann Int Med 12/04
What can be done to bring "home" a terminally ill patient who does not speak English, and the home is 7000 miles away.
On Being a Doctor - Annals of Internal Medicine