Katherine Chretien, MD, Publishes Essay in Academic Medicine
Separating work from personal life is a struggle that can be felt across all professions, including medicine. Katherine Chretien, MD, associate dean for student affairs at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, shared her own experience with that struggle in a new essay, titled “Transitions,” which was recently published in the January 2019 edition of Academic Medicine.
In the piece, Chretien details her continuing struggle to master the work-life balance challenges specific to health care. She describes caring for a patient approaching the end of life, receiving the call while at home that the patient has passed, and having to process the news as her family sits down for dinner.
“After 15 years, I’m still trying to handle that transition with grace and to be as present at home as my work demands me to be every day in the hospital,” she wrote.
Chretien has published many creative works over the years and maintains the blog Mothers in Medicine, which resulted in a published book by the same name. She encourages both colleagues and students to find ways, such as writing, to help process the stressful moments that are part of the medical profession.
“We have shared experiences as physicians and health care professionals that are unique, powerful, and often challenging,” Chretien said. “Writing about these experiences can connect us with each other and help us reflect upon our lives in ways big and small. For me, writing is also therapeutic and helps me process salient moments in my practice of teaching, learning, and clinical care.”
To read “Transitions” in Academic Medicine, visit journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2019/01000/Transitions.21.aspx.