Thursday, May 19, 2016

Joy of Healing

Celebration at UNC School of Medicine Graduation

“…may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”
Hippocratic Oath

It is rare to find others who have traveled and share a similar vocational journey.  I found that person and journey in the book, The Finest Traditions of My Calling One Physician’s Search for the Renewal of Medicine, by Abraham Nussbaum, MD.   He has been on a big quest as his memoir recounts.

The book is full of big ideas and not the least of these is the “joy of healing” found in the last sentence of the Hippocratic oath.  This joy seems hard to find in the reality of current western medical practice.  As the photo demonstrates, there are exceptions even in the face of the reality.  

Will there be “joy” after 10 years of practice or at the end of their professional career?  There are certainly no guarantees, but I suggest that a positive response hinges on being able, like Abraham Nussbaum, to remember your calling and oaths.   These are the foundation for the “joy of healing”.



1. Screen shot from the UNC School of Medicine graduation on May 7, 2016

2. Nussbaum, Abraham M. (2016-03-22). The Finest Traditions of My Calling: One Physicians Search for the Renewal of Medicine. Yale University Press. Kindle Edition. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Healing Curriculum

What if you were given the opportunity to design an educational curriculum that had as its purpose the teaching and learning of healing?  What would you emphasize?  How would you do it?  Are there examples?  Does the healing goal exist under another name?

What I have found is this healing curriculum is identified by a variety of titles but only rarely is the word “healing” used.  The reasons are complicated particularly in our Western culture.  For me the opportunity to see and live this curriculum has been in Africa.   Here is what I can recommend from what I have found:
  1. We need to use the word healing.    
  2. We need to name healing when we see it happen in our patients.
  3. We need to name healing when we are the recipients as physicians, nurses and therapists
  4. We need to teach healing in our relationship with students and patients.
The best part of being in healthcare has been being a part of the larger story of healing.  It is a sustainable prescription to a suffering world.



Boudreau JD;  Cassell EJ;  Fuks A. A healing curriculum.  Medical Education.  41(12):1193-201, 2007 Dec.

Previous blog references:
Hage, M. L. (2009). Healing at Tenwek.
Hage, M. L. (2010). Christian Surgical Mentoring.
Hage, M. L. (2012). Educational Partnerships.
Hage, M.L. (2012) Burnout and “Path Report”