Taylor, Christian C. “Surgeons as Sages”, Boston College, 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109431.
One of the most critical issues facing contemporary healthcare is that which is called “doctor burnout,” a term that is used within the medical field to describe the range of energetic collapses that doctors experience due ultimately to the demanding nature of their work. This thesis seeks to address burnout specifically in the field of surgery on account of this field’s proximity to patient death. Hallmark texts from the Daoist tradition, the Daodejing and Zhuangzi, refer to sages who possess a transcendent, far-reaching wisdom that allow them to emotionally supersede the quarrels and tribulations of life. This is precisely the ethos that this thesis seeks to investigate in order to determine the ways in which this sage wisdom can be utilized to prevent surgeon burnout. As such, the Daoist model as presented in the Zhuangzian tradition offers an effective resolution to the burnout that many surgeons face. Sages from this tradition have a highly cultivated sense of self, heightened perspective on death and meditative lifestyle that allows them to maintain their equanimity and longevity even in the face of life’s greatest antagonist, death, a model which can be utilized by surgeons for the same purpose.