Caring for oneself to care for others: Physicians and their self-care

Sandra Sanchez-Reilly, Laura J. Morrison, Elise Carey, Rachelle Bernacki, Lynn O'Neill, Jennifer Kapo, Vyjeyanthi S. Periyakoil, Jane deLima Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


It is well known that clinicians experience distress and grief in response to their patients' suffering. Oncologists and palliative care specialists are no exception since they commonly experience patient loss and are often affected by unprocessed grief. These emotions can compromise clinicians' personal well-being, since unexamined emotions may lead to burnout, moral distress, compassion fatigue, and poor clinical decisions which adversely affect patient care. One approach to mitigate this harm is selfcare, defined as a cadre of activities performed independently by an individual to promote and maintain personal well-being throughout life. This article emphasizes the importance of having a self-care and self-awareness plan when caring for patients with life-limiting cancer and discusses validated methods to increase self-care, enhance self-awareness and improve patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Supportive Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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