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The Pitfalls of Overachieving

By Daniel Foster15 Dec 2023

We ask a lot of our doctors, but not as much, it seems, as they ask of themselves.

The “quintessential” physician is one who does everything. And in the MD’s arena, “everything” is the trifecta of clinical work, research, and the training of students and residents. This unholy trinity of demands was workable in the distant past, when doctors could simply be doctors, before every procedure was hampered by countless regulations, hogtied by legal worries, and buried under a landslide of paperwork.

A recent article published in JAMA Surgery calls into question not only the practicality, but the health and safety of continuing to promote this outdated paradigm.

Physicians are steeped in this idea from their first clinical days. They often feel tremendous pressure to personify this soul-sucking vortex of achievement in order to be considered for the residencies and fellowships that they want. And they are often correct in that concern.

The idea is that the most well-rounded doctor will be the best career physician, but how is anyone performing at their best when they are mentally, physically and emotionally spread thinner than betadine? The JAMA article argues that, in the modern medical world, these demands only aggravate work-life imbalance and hasten burnout.

Every person is special, but maybe in ways, our doctors are more special, because the rest of us rely on them to guard our health and life. At Transonic, we have spent 40 years equipping physicians to better care for the health of others, and now, quietly, their own health is being threatened from within.

Awareness is the beginning of change, so we ask that you read the full article, and recommend this blog to any medical professionals who might be in a position to help change this concerning standard.

Thanks for reading,

               Transonic Systems, Inc.

                              The Measure of Better Results



JAMA Surgery

Published Online: November 8, 2023.


“Choose Your Own Threat”—A Modern Paradigm for Academic Surgery | Surgery | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network