Love and Boundaries in Medicine


It’s a little-known and rarely discussed fact of medical practice that doctors value the ability to love our patients. If the thought of doctors loving patients makes you queasy, be reassured. I’m not talking about romantic love but the visceral sense of goodwill and impulse to service that draws young people to the profession and allows them to endure the years of arduous training required to become a physician.


To know a patient as a person is to recognize their unique history, as well as their sensitivities, interests and idiosyncrasies. This depth of doctoring honors a tender therapeutic covenant within which patients can feel safe in sharing a full range of personal information – including things they may never tell another soul – and confident in being heard and understood.


Relation-based practice of this nature offers a chance to thrive professionally at a time when more than half of all doctors are experiencing burnout. It’s what entices some physicians to become concierge doctors. It drew me and others in the specialty to palliative care.


Read more at The Hastings Center…

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