Incident Report is an Amazon Associate! Bookmark and use this link to shop!

The difference between a meaningful, passionate, sustainable calling and the lowest depths of unadulterated burnout may not be a matter of whether you have empathy, but which type of empathy you use.

Read the article. Then watch the Facebook Live video and lend your voice in the comments! Then hide the kids cuz we get EXPLICIT with your comments on TribeTalk!

Catch #IncidentReport as a top-rated Science & Medicine podcast on iTunes!

Don’t wanna use iTunes? Stream us on Soundcloud here.

Love the show and wanna support it?

Become a patron of the show for as little as $1/week on Patreon!

Purchase Amazon products using this link!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


Are you an organization or corporation interested in sponsorships for Incident Report and Against Medical Advice? We reach millions of health care folks every week!

Message us to learn about sponsorship opportunities!

4 Responses to “Empathy Will Kill You (and We Can Prove It)”

  1. Dike Drummond MD

    Brain science has shown for years that imagination is almost identical to experience IRL. There is a huge difference between feeling someones pain and suffering and working to solve the problems that are causing that suffering.

    What is needed is awareness and boundary training for all healhcare providers – up and down the care team. What is their pain? What is it like when you feel pain yourself? How can you tell the difference? These are important physiologic distinctions that require distinct training for med students and residents.

    Instead … usually we are told that you are not supposed to have any feelings “for” your patients. This is an impossible, macho and unrealistic standard. Most docs feel guilty when they do start to notice they like some patients. The more you like them, the more likely you are to take on their pain and drop into the spiral of the dangerous forms of empathy.

    Feelings/Empathy/Compassion/Awareness play a big role in healthcare. Our bias for “hard science” and eliminating these topics from training exacts a toll from the providers.

    My two cents,

    Dike Drummond

  2. Dike Drummond MD

    “most people burnout once and quit”
    Most doctors burnout once, learn, change their practice or attitude or both and keep working.

  3. Pat Eaton

    The cognitive compassion component is totally missing from Nursing education. I believe that the difference should be taught and active exercises undertaken to demonstrate the difference to our nurses before they ever graduate.
    As you were mentioning the “take it on as your own pain or view it as a challenge to be conquered” portion of your presentation, I wondered if we couldn’t extrapolate that to the natural tendencies of the student nurse. I feel students who experience extreme test anxiety and suffer disproportionately when faced with a challenge are far more likely to fall in to the personal caring compassion you described than the one who is more confident and sees the challenge as something at which they’re likely to be successful.
    As a nurse, I see burnout take a toll on nurses on a daily basis, and we need to address this prior to the commencement of their career and give our new nurses proper tools with which to combat it.