Clinician burnout can have serious, wide-ranging consequences, from reduced job performance and high turnover rates to—in the most extreme cases—medical error and clinician suicide. On the other hand, clinician well-being supports improved patient-clinician relationships, a high-functioning care team, and an engaged and effective workforce. In other words, when we invest in the well-being of clinicians—doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, medical trainees, and more—everyone wins.
The National Academy of Medicine, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC, called on artists of all skills and abilities to express what clinician burnout and clinician resilience/well-being looks, sounds, and feels like to them. Expressions of Clinician Well-Being is a collection of art directly from clinicians, patients, loved ones, and organizations working to prevent burnout and promote well-being. By allowing people to creatively express their experiences with burnout, this gallery captures critical moments in the journey to well-being.
Louise P. King, MD, JD, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and a surgeon within the Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, contributed a collection of her work entitled "Knit1Purl2SighRepeat," which is on display in the National Academy of Medicine Gallery in Washington, DC, as part of the Expressions of Clinicial Well-Being.
King, director of reproductive ethics at the HMS Center for Bioethics describes how her art helps her to manage stress and focus on her own well-being on her artist's page of the online gallery. King writes:
"As a surgeon and mother, I feel that I am pulled and even torn between competing interests. A strong professional desire to be present for my patients, colleagues, and students tears in one direction while a need to be present for my family and my beautiful 12-year-old daughter pulls at my heart the opposite way."