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Editor's Commentary on 'The Lunch'

 , November 17, 2014

As healthcare providers we are taught always to put our patients first. We also learn that it is important to take care of ourselves so that we can be our best with patients and families. However, learning to negotiate a healthy and productive balance between our professional and personal lives can be difficult. In “The Lunch,” we gain insight into George Gallardo’s attempts to wrangle with this issue. He raises in particular the question of how to balance these activities in the workplace. As his sinking stomach upon eye contact with that patient’s family member suggests, we must be sensitive to how our “social” activities in the hospital are perceived by patients and their families. Yet this does not mean that we should abandon such pursuits. Taking time to relax and enjoy oneself – particularly after a stressful and emotionally draining rotation – is important for reinvigorating oneself and preventing burnout. Activities like Gallardo’s celebratory lunch which refill the proverbial well can help us to become more satisfied, fulfilled physicians who in turn provide better care to our patients. However, attention to time, place, and context is key.

Rachel Elkin