Finding joy in palliative care practice: one physician's perspective

By Dan Kamyck | May 24, 2017 at 4:39 PM

Four years ago, Dr. Kathryn Kirkland at Dartmouth-Hitchcock left the world of infectious disease–a world that "felt increasingly superficial, fragmented, isolated, a hard place to find joy and meaning"–for the world of palliative care. Through several patient stories in JAMA, she recounts three elements of practice which cultivate joy:

It’s funny how the world of palliative care, which each day brings us face-to-face with illness, with mortality, with heartbreak, is not a place of overwhelming sadness. Each day, instead, we find (or perhaps we cocreate) meaning, and even joy in our work. What core elements of our practice allow this to happen?