Summertime, and the living is easy…or is it?
Summer evokes luminous images: sun, sand, sandals, ripe berries, tomatoes, flowers. It also represents a time for blissful activities – swimming, reaping the earth’s bounty, love and taking vacation. Summer and its solstice represent the zenith of growth and evolution: not the fragile, early awakening of spring, not the onset of dormancy of fall nor the hibernation of winter. Across the globe, school kids await the final bell and release from the confines of the classroom, school uniforms and closed shoes.
However, the bounties of summer can belie inherent dangers. The solar forces can cause crops to rot and threaten serious dehydration and heat stroke, while the lack of supervision can be trouble.
Summer: Sun*Burnt is made to explore crucial elements of this dichotomy in neurosurgery. As a specialty, neurosurgery has clearly left behind the infancy of spring and entered a phase of maturity in technology, innovation, education and patient care – often leading the way for all of medicine. Even as we enjoy this heady period, we are mindful of threats. Across medicine, physician burnout is a rising concern and one with potential impact on patient care and patient safety. While there are many approaches to physician wellness and empowerment, one clear strategy is maintaining life beyond our professional endeavors. By highlighting how neurosurgeons have tackled this individually across a wide spectrum, it hopefully inspires those who are struggling. On the flip side, we have also addressed components of physician burnout, because it is a reality and a challenge.
At a recent conference, a colleague described my travels as “epic.” I smiled knowing that one of my strategies for keeping my own life in balance has become known to so many. My time away from work, typically traveling with my family, has been a priority throughout my career. While travel may not be the secret sauce for everyone, what is important is that each of us has something that fills this niche. So, strap on those skates, book that cruise, pull out the camera and buy those theater tickets – whatever it takes to prevent Koyaanisqatsi – life out of balance.
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