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  • Kevin Hara

Giving & Receiving

Updated: May 15, 2022


We are all members of multiple communities. There is the community of our family, there is the community of the neighborhood we live in, and there is also the community of the people we work with. There is also our healthcare community. Like multiple Venn diagrams, we overlap in multiple ways. Community is about connection. Our digital world and COVID have changed the way we connect from the physical to the virtual. Nevertheless, we still need connection to live, and what better way to connect is there than with a shared story.


Healthcare providers are facing a crisis of burnout. We can view ourselves as Shel Silversteinʻs Giving Tree. We give and give and give … until we have nothing left. If we view our profession in this manner, we are destined to burn out.


Sometimes we focus on the wrong thing. Maybe we should focus not on the giving, but on the receiving. What The Tree received was the love of The Boy; and there is no more precious gift in the world. Maybe the book should be titled The Receiving Tree.


Healthcare providers are a privileged community. Our patients reveal their most intimate secrets to us. We receive so much back from them. They provide us with countless gifts. The gifts I am talking about are not the cookies at Christmas (although they are so ono.) I am talking about the feelings and emotions they give us. The times that they made us feel valued and appreciated. The lessons that they taught us about life.


I am sending a challenge out to you. I want you to put your thoughts about how much you give to your patients on the side for a moment. During that moment, I want you to recall a time when you were touched by a patient. I know you have many recollections, but I am asking you to recall just one. I am also asking that you share your story with each other. Through sharing our stories, I know that we can strengthen our connections and our community. Together we can help each other.

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