Is it possible for the modern day doctor to be happy?


When I wrote the article, “My future as a physician looks mediocre at best,” I did not expect the traction that it received. When it received so many shares, I realized there is an important point for us to shed light on. So, I pose the simple question: Is it possible for the modern day doctor to be happy?

Now I don’t mean an overly dramatic happiness involving euphoria, constant hypomania, or ecstasy-like quality. (Although who wouldn’t want to feel amazing all the time?) Happiness in this article is defined as the idea of living and practicing in a way that enables one to live their desired quality of life, and feel they are aiding patients in an impactful way.

And this posed question of finding happiness leads to many follow up questions.  What are the common ideas, qualities, or themes that are likely to lead someone towards being a happy doctor? Are there tricks or methods to becoming a happy doctor? Are there specific pitfalls or mistakes that can be avoided by learning from the experienced doctor? Can the “happiness factor” be found earlier in the chain such as in medical students, interns, and residents? There are so many questions that can be answered through this conversation.

And now my stance: I postulate that becoming a happy doctor is not only within the realm of possibility; it is actively happening now and a replicable experiment. With that being said, any one who transitions from their current position to a happier one will require tools to achieve such success. So how do we develop the tools in the happy doctor toolkit?

In order to test this theory, we must gather and deconstruct the already successful cases of current practicing physicians. So, step one is to find these happy individuals. Step two is to interview them and guide questions toward understanding their qualities and methods to finding happiness. Finally, step three is to summarize, compile, compare, and learn from these strong examples. This process will allow for greater knowledge and understanding, which can then be utilized by the current unhappy physician and the medical community.

So with this test being displayed to you, I now ask of you a favor. If you are aware of any practicing physician who you would consider happy, who has found a way against all odds to find happiness, please nominate them. Speak up! Let us gather the happy individuals and bring a spot light to developing a happier community. With this development, we can then generate greater health and wellness to those we care about: our patients.

Taylor Brana is a medical student who blogs at The Happy Doc.

Image credit:


View 15 Comments >

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.