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Physician, Heal Thyself: Coaching the Health Care Provider

H Gibbs International Journal of Coaching in Organizations 2011

Although physicians as a group1 enjoy a longer lifespan than individuals from many other professions, they experience a higher incidence of preventable deaths such as suicide, accidents, and murder. In addition anxiety, depression, and burnout are significant problems in this population. A major factor in creating this type of suffering is the discord between the prevailing view of what it takes to be a good physician and the essential components of what makes us human beings. The conflict between these two seemingly opposite portrayals creates a game that is unwinnable. By reexamining the story of the “ideal” physician, we can create a new game that reconnects the health care provider with the humanity of both the patient and the doctor, and can result in a more balanced approach to the treatment of illness.

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