MELBOURNE, Australia, Nov. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Doctors save lives – but who is saving the doctors?
One doctor commits suicide every day in the US – the highest suicide rate of any profession, even the military, and more than twice that of the general population.
It is a problem at the core of psychologist and coach Sharee Johnson’s new book: The Thriving Doctor – How To Be More Balanced And Fulfilled Working In Medicine.
The Thriving Doctor aims to arm doctors with skills to look after their own wellbeing so they can provide the best possible healthcare to others – and in turn improve the healthcare system from within.
US-based cardiologist Dr Jonathan Fisher MD FACC says The Thriving Doctor is "a gift to doctors everywhere … it is a complete how-to guide for self-awareness and mindset mastery. There is practical wisdom that we never got as medical students or at any time during our career. It is written with a deep and palpable sense of compassion and care for doctors."
American College of Emergency Physicians, government services chapter immediate past president Dr Andrea Austin says: "The Thriving Doctor is a must-read for any aspiring doctor, doctor or anyone who interacts with doctors. It explains so eloquently the numerous factors that lead to doctor burnout, and the necessary internal work required to be able to fully show up to do the important work of doctoring."
The Thriving Doctor was born out of Johnson’s anger, in the wake of her husband Tim’s cancer death 10 years ago, over their interactions with some healthcare professionals during his four years of illness.
But her anger soon turned into an understanding of what doctors faced – long hours, life-and-death decisions, patients who are in pain and often frightened but also a system that trains doctors to be dispassionate, clinical and "perfect".
"As patients we can often forget that doctors are only human – and doctors also forget they are only human, there is a strong culture of never showing weakness," Johnson says.
"But many, many of them are burnt out. It was quite shocking to learn how many doctors are affected by anxiety, depression, drug abuse and suicide. And that was before our healthcare workers had to contend with a pandemic.
"Doctors have little training in communication, they don’t have any system of regular debriefing and they are not trained how to look after themselves emotionally.
"They have been taught from an early age that, as doctors, their patients come before anything else – even their families and themselves."
Johnson says while doctors cannot change the system, they can change within themselves to look after their own emotional wellbeing and develop better connections with colleagues and patients, which leads to better health outcomes for patients.
"The research is very clear that more healing happens, and happens more rapidly, if patients feel a connection with their doctor and feel like they have been listened to and heard.," Johnson says.
The Thriving Doctor is available via Amazon and Booktopia
More information, or an interview with Sharee, contact Jeni O’Dowd +61 0413 080797 or
SOURCE Sharee Johnson