Doctors are humans.

Doctors are humans

They are getting divorced, remarried, in a custody battle

Have a partner who is going to chemotherapy or having surgery


They have children at home who have crippling anxiety, ADHD, autism

Who are transgendered, depressed or have a big job interview

Who won’t speak to them, or… need them constantly

Who are leaving home, addicted to drugs or on their honeymoon!

It’s tiring, confusing, frightening, exciting, being a parent

Their car broke down this morning and the landlord told them they need to move

They are helping their mum move into aged care tomorrow

Dad is already there, he has dementia.

Next week they will pack up their parent’s home

Negotiate with their siblings and the real estate agent.

Then fly back interstate for work, to be on-call.

Others are staying in the hospital accommodation

The bed is terrible, so on days off they drive two hours home for a good night’s sleep

They are kind of used to it

For years now their training has required moving to a new job every 6 or 12 months.

It’s pretty hard to have a social life, to keep up with friends

There are no other doctors this week because everyone’s sick

And the Registrar has just gone on maternity leave

When they get home from this 14-hour shift, they will try to study for a couple of hours

For their next exam in three months’ time.

This is the second time they have tried to pass this one

There is just so much to remember, and they are so tired.

They paid thousands of dollars for the privilege of sitting this exam

Knowing only 64% of applicants will pass

Yes, it’s stressful

But they are 34 years old now, they have to keep moving, can’t get stuck

The promise of becoming a consultant, that’s what they live for

Every spare minute, studying, rehearsing, practicing for the exam

Freedom awaits…

Their partner gets up to the baby all the time, so they can get some rest

It’s creating some tension, but they’re okay… they say.

It’s hard to tell

This state of tired feels so normal now

Sometimes they wonder if they are depressed, burnt out, in decline

They love their patients, the work… not the paperwork

They love solving problems, fixing things

Do they?

They’ve been saying that for so long now, like a broken record

It’s a calling, a vocation, it’s more than a job they say

Where is my life they say?

What happened to me? Who am I?

Next time you meet a doctor

Remember you are meeting a human being

With all the human needs and frailties that you have

With a life that can get messy like yours outside the hospital walls, beyond the clinic

They want to help you

And… they are depleted. 

Meet them as your partner, as a fellow human, smile if you can

They don’t want your pity, they actually want to keep pretending they are okay

They are incredibly invested in helping you

So much so that they sometimes forget they are human too

You can help them, help you.

Tell them what you need, be clear, ask questions, say thank you.

Remember: Doctors are Humans.

May you and all our doctors be well!


Download a pdf version of Doctors are Humans

Doctors are Humans

Sharee’s new book The Thriving Doctor is available in all good bookstores on online.