An Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being

A Gift on #NationalDoctorsDay

Today is National Doctors Day, a day to offer gratitude and encouragement to physicians everywhere and all our healthcare providers with whom we work and care for patients and each other. I’d like to share the words to a new Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being that I co-authored with Margaret C. Lo, MD and Kevin E. O’Brien, MD on behalf of the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine (CHARM).

As we are so aware in the face of COVID-19, physicians who are relatively well (and relatively “protected”) are better able to serve their patients, students, colleagues, profession, and society. Partnership is needed now more than ever to mitigate and plan and advocate for this pandemic, not just for healthcare professionals but for our entire community at all levels: nurses, nursing assistants, physician assistants, physical therapists, mental health providers, custodians and cafeteria workers, receptionists, administrators, executive team, our families and the  community at large.

It is truly inspirational to see our healthcare community on the frontlines selflessly combating this pandemic and the community rallying to serve and help each other as we care for others. We are doing this in spite of the risks to us and our loved ones professionally and personally!  

As we navigate this new normal let’s recharge ourselves too! 

Proud to be part of this noble vocation! 

Click here to download a printable PDF of the Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being and feel free to share it widely.*

Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being

  1. We SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to embrace and promote the well-being of our self, our colleagues, and the medical community as part of our responsibility to the effective care of our patients, ourselves, and in partnership with our healthcare organization.

  2. We WILL SEEK TO DEVELOP and ADHERE to habits that promote and maintain humility, meaning, and wholeness of self in our work and interactions.

  3. We WILL BE ATTUNED to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of our self and others and share our practices of well-being for the benefits of our patients, our colleagues, and the advancement of healthcare.

  4. We WILL COMMIT to integration and balance in our professional and personal life and seek help when we feel we ourselves or our peers are overburdened, fatigued, or less compassionate.

  5. We WILL CHAMPION for a healthcare system that values the well-being of its personnel, uses best evidence for an institutional culture of wellness, and recognizes that in so promoting the patients we care for are ultimately best served.

  6. We WILL FIND the courage to be vulnerable and confront professional wrongdoings to the best of our ability while at the same time showing compassion and respect for all members of the healthcare team.

  7. I MAKE these promises of well-being to myself and to the vocation of medicine with my highest commitment.

This Oath expands on the recent Charter on Physician Well-being, which calls for a partnership and commitment among medical professionals and healthcare organizations to address the epidemic of physician burnout and to promote a culture of well-being. In framing this oath to supplement our Hippocratic Oath, we see wellness as a shared responsibility between the individual provider and the system, with the major responsibility lying with the system itself.

*Used with permission of AAIM. Co-authors: Mukta Panda, MD, Kevin E. O’Brien, MD, Margaret C. Lo,MD . Read the journal article about the Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being published in the American Journal of Medicine, AAIM Perspectives, Volume 133, ISSUE 2, P249-252.e1, February 01, 2020, http://bit.ly/O2SCnWB.

Acknowledgements: The three authors thank the following members of CHARM for their contributions: Hasan Bazari, MD, Diana McNeill, MD, Alyssa McManamon, MD, Colleen Christmas MD, Christina Cellini, MD, Elizabeth Gaufberg, MD and Jonathan Ripp, MD.

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