Self-Care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End-of-Life

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

This article was published in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA), in March 2009.  In April 2009, the article was featured in a related audio presentation, “Author in the Room” (Author in the Room), and has, since then, been cited widely in peer-reviewed publications on self-care.

"Physicians providing end-of-life care are subject to a variety of stresses that may lead to burnout and compassion fatigue at both individual and team levels. Through the story of an oncologist, we discuss the prodromal symptoms and signs leading to burnout and compassion fatigue and present the evidence for prevention. We define and discuss factors that contribute to burnout and compassion fatigue and consider factors that may mitigate burnout. We explore the practice of empathy and discuss an approach for physicians to maximize wellness through self-awareness in the setting of caring for patients with end-stage illness. Finally, we discuss some practical applications of self-care in the workplace"


"When somebody does die, and you feel like you cared for them well during life. . . . and allowed them to... create the kind of death that they would want, then there is... peace between you and the patient." - Dr. C

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© 2019  Michael Kearney, MD