Forever Always

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Dilshan Ishara Pieris


empathy, burnout, patient-physician relationship, connection, medical education


The following poem attempts to capture the perspective of a doctor who can no longer empathize with their patients. Throughout the medical education literature, many studies have shown a decline in empathy that occurs as individuals progress through their medical training and professional practice. While this decline is the focus of many educational interventions, the reasons for it are poorly understood aside from quantitative and correlative research. I wrote this poem as a preface to my thesis, which seeks to understand this phenomenon. Empathy is essential to practicing medicine. We cannot accept this decline as an inevitable reality.