Rock Bottom

In this essay, Dr. Muller describes how he descended to the lowest point in his training: exhausted, ashamed, and wanting everything—even his life—to just end.

Use this essay to:

  • Listen to an audio recording of the essay, read by Dr. Michael LaCombe.
  • Ask yourself how often you have felt emotionally exhausted by your work and studies.
  • In his essay, Dr. Muller says he and his resident were reluctant to accept help with their overwhelming medical service when it was offered, “…out of a sense of duty to our patients, but we were probably also ashamed of looking like the weak link on our unit”. Do you believe you would ask for help if you needed it or accept it if it was offered? Why is refusing to do so dangerous for our patients and ourselves?
  • How can we support each other? How can we prevent ourselves from hitting “rock bottom”? What you learners do if they suspect a colleague is in trouble or if you are having trouble yourself?

Annals of Internal Medicine is the premier internal medicine academic journal published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world.

Back to the July 2017 issue of ACP IMpact