Where has the loyalty in medicine gone?

There are 168 hours in a week and 8,736 hours in a year. There are 10,080 minutes in a week, and 524,160 minutes in a year. Residents and fellows working in an academic environment often work close to, if not in large part, more than 80 hours a week, or 4,160 hours a year. They work 4,800 minutes a week, and a staggering 249,600 minutes a year. In medicine, it’s simple, be perfect all 4,800 minutes a week and all 249,600 minutes a year. Decisions made in 30 seconds, arguments that last two minutes and moments out of character for less than 0.001 percent of your work week ultimately dictate how reprimanded you will be, how damaged your reputation is and, ultimately, how you feel about your self-worth. That is the reality of medicine. And it is a lonely feeling.

Department chairs, fellowship directors, and residency program leaders seem to care little about the other 249,598 minutes of your year, they care about the two minutes of frustration you expressed after a long day of work serving others with little help and even less emotional support. Where do we turn? It takes pieces of you. At first, they’re so small, you don’t notice until you wake up one morning, and you don’t feel like yourself. You don’t feel like the person you started out as, the person who worked hard to be there, the person that comes home fulfilled and, ultimately, a person.

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