Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

How To Maintain Joy In Practice


Maintaining joy in practice requires deliberate attention. The emotional and physical investments demanded by healthcare professions are additive and contribute to high levels of stress and burnout. Mitigating this trend requires effort and attention on the part of all stakeholders.  

We chose healthcare because we innately wanted to give care to patients and their families. We’re ‘givers,’ particularly vulnerable to giving more of ourselves than we’re often physically and emotionally able. This phenomenon is often insidious, as multiple domains of our professional lives take on added complexity and compete for our time.

When many of us started in the healthcare field there were far fewer demands on documentation, on management of results and other data, and far less complex options to consider in patient care. In 2018 we’re interconnected across disciplines and institutions to a far greater degree than a decade ago. And the expectations on each of us to address all of the detail have grown through added regulation and payment mechanisms.


To mitigate this trend we must become more proactive. 


  1. It starts with recognizing the crisis, talking about it amongst ourselves and with leadership, and measuring the current state and impact of our interventions.


  1. We need to create systems to better manage information so that clinicians are able to have data compiled and ready for action, rather than inconsistently embedded in records.


  1. We need to better prioritize our work, doing our best to maximize outcomes, the patient/family experience, and eliminate preventable harm. This includes attention to the right balance in training and compliance across disciplines.


  1. We need to leverage teams, allowing each member to work toward the top of his or her license. We need to provide intrinsic motivators through lifelong learning opportunities to keep all team members engaged as professional fulfilment is a key to joy.


Our people, our providers and staff, are our greatest resources. We ask of them many hours of dedicated time away from their families. To serve our patients and families, we ask them to set aside their personal stressors. We owe it to each other to create a space to circle back and recognize the added stress this brings to those ‘givers’ of care. All providers and staff should care about restoring and adding joy and resilience. This helps assure we are each able to support one another.

If the emotional and physical batteries of all team members remain charged, we will be best able to achieve our goals to deliver the promise of medicine.