As orthopods, we strive for our patients’ welfare. But what about our own? We can’t serve our patients, if we are struggling ourselves. The figures are alarming: surgeons drink, more than ordinary people (we have 10% more “heavy drinkers”) surgeons burn-out, in alarming numbers (50%, according to a current report) surgeons divorce, more than ordinary people (15% more) older surgeons have more health problems, including depression (50% of surgeons over 50) surgeons ponder suicide, more than ordinary people surgeons consider their workplace “unhealthy,” more than other professions. It varies between cultures, as you might expect. We surgeons need to fix this problem ourselves. Limit your administration, by employing a scribent. Discipline your working hours, so you get a free day after a “night-on-call,” and only a maximum of two nights-on-call per week. Devote some of your valuable time to sports. Up to 2.5 h of jogging a week at a slow or average pace would increase your life expectancy by 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women. Make time to really listen to your patients. Learn what matters to them, as well as what’s the matter with them. If you are good for your patients, they will be good for you. Lastly, keep the flame!! If there’s light and humor and pleasure in what you do, then you’re safe enough. But if you are dragging yourself along in the gloom, then you’re already in trouble. Your balance is drifting into the red.
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