Emily Dickinson penned this couplet, “Surgeons must be very careful when they take the knife! Underneath their fine incisions stirs the culprit — Life!” Naturally, all physicians, not just surgeons, deal with our individual lives. As we celebrate Doctor’s Day at the end of this month, Portneuf Medical Center wants to express its appreciation to all of our community physicians. Please accept our sincere gratitude for the very personal care we receive from your gifted minds, hearts, and hands.
More importantly, in light of the years of rigorous training, early mornings and late nights, and the countless untold sacrifices within a physician’s home, we owe our deepest gratitude to the families of our community doctors. To these unsung supporters, we want to say thank you for lending to our community your husband, your wife, your mom, or your dad. Our wonderful doctors would not be able to do what they do without your love and support. You are the real heroes in healthcare. Please know that you are just as important, if not more important, in our eyes.
The old saying, “Doctors’ wives have everything. Except husbands!” holds a certain element of truth. Consequently, the greatest gift that we can provide our physicians is time with their loved ones. In fact, a 2013 study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings concluded that despite the strains a career in medicine can put on family time and relationships, most individuals who are in long-term relationships with physicians are happy enough to say they would still marry a doctor if they had a chance to do it over. However, time spent together is the biggest predictor of spouse happiness, and as a result, experts advise physicians to schedule family time and protect it fiercely.
As healthcare reform puts more and more pressure on physicians, a commensurate amount of pressure will be placed on their families. Physician burnout is real and the only way to prevent it is to conscientiously be mindful of those relationships that matter most—the family. My invitation to everyone in our community is to go out of your way to thank the physicians they know and to be sure to thank their family members. The most precious possession they really have is time with each other.