September Issue: Mental Discomfort among Practicing Physicians

Today we present Distressed doctors: a narrative and historical study of work-related mental discomfort among practising physicians, a study by Jonatan Wistrand, Department of medical history at Lund University in Sweden.


A headshot of the author, light brown hair and a trim beard. He wears a blue sweater and collared shirt, and smiles slightly.From Dr. Wistrand:

Prior to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic there have for some years now been reports in media regarding another epidemic striking particularly hard against health care workers. The pathogenesis of that epidemic is neither virus nor bacteria – but stress. Mental distress/burnout among physicians has, in the 21st century, become one of the most urging challenges of modern medicine. 

Through a close reading of two biographical accounts, I suggest that part of the problem relates to the seemingly subtle – yet important – difference between patient-centred and person-centred care. Together, the two narratives analysed in the article span over half a century, enabling a comparison from different medico-social settings, and shedding important light on one of the most difficult questions of clinical practice: how to combine an empathic, humane approach to patient care without succumbing to the weight of the patients’ suffering.

Hear more about this article form the author:

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