The Secret of Balancing Medical Practice and Parenting? For Lousie King, Knitting

Reproductive ethics director shares her art as part of national physician burnout awareness campaign

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."

Read her full artist's statement and get details about the Expressions of Clinical Well-Being project.