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Flying Too Close to Sun: The Emotional Toll for Healthcare Providers

Observing a surgeon, social worker, and home caretaker.

Photo of Juan Carlos Ibarra
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I've talked to various health care professionals and one of the consistent features is the need to manage stress associated with death.

From the high-intensity environments of trauma centers to the comparably quieter, lingering death of hospice care, and gradual deterioration of a loved one's body at home, the stresses of healthcare provides are multifaceted. Too often, the healthcare system doesn't provide sufficient care for the those caring for the dying and dead.

Healthcare providers react to death differently. Some work out, others meditate. Some develop more empathy, others disengage in order to preserve their sanity. But it's an uphill battle because of the intimacy of death, especially for healthcare providers who experience in a uniquely direct way. 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Given the complexity of emotions involved in this process, we should consider how end-of-life services are affected by the mental and physical health of healthcare providers who are there to manage the process.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am an educator, entrepreneur, and attorney. I am also trained as a mediator and work on ways to use technology to solve the legal services gap and create human-centered experiences. Oakland, CA.


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