May 3, 2020
Some of the reasons for this are guessable. Emergency room doctors work far more grueling hours than most physicians and under more stressful circumstances, often seeing people on the very worst days of their lives. But when I phoned Dr. John R. Matheson, former president of the Washington State chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and founder of its Wellness Committee, he gave me a much more subtle, characterological explanation for why his subspecialty can be so depleting.
“We tend to be perfectionists,” he said. “And disease processes aren’t always straightforward. When you’re a high achiever and you’re very driven and you can’t do what you want to do, it can be very disheartening.”
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