Friday, January 27, 2017

Healing Stress

Hans Selye
January 26, 1907 – October 16, 1982

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
Hans Selye

“The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it
Mark 4: 18-19 (The Message)

I used to describe the nature of stresses of medical practice as “acuity” and “volume”.  The really bad stress was when you were confronted with both the “board was full” and “they all were very sick”.  From all reports, this is still true today despite our systems of care and the efficiencies that they bring.  I have discovered a new stressor; “running out of time”.  One of the paradoxes of retirement is that when you think you will have a lot of time, the reality is “time is not on your side”. 

So what will sustain us, whether young or old, with the realities of a suffering world?  The answer I have found is in the individual small actions of a touch, a hug, a note, or just showing up.  We have become so overwhelmed with the big items we miss the healing found in small acts.  Hope emerges when I see those actions in the “rear view” mirror of my life and how they have mysteriously fit together.

For all our individual and immediate fears, we have assurance of a larger story of healing.  That has been what I discovered in the “4th quarter”.    It is the encouragement we all need, young or old, when we are overwhelmed with the real stresses of caring for and with others.




Perez, H,R et al  Chaos in the Clinic: Characteristics and Consequences of Practices Perceived as Chaotic.  Journal For Healthcare Quality. 39(1):43-53, January/February 2017.

Frith, KH. Medication Errors in the Intensive Care Unit: Literature Review Using the SEIPS Model. AACN Advanced Critical Care. 24(4):389-404, October/December 2013.

Hage, ML Healing in the Fourth Quarter

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