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We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing

Published on
September 26, 2022
The contents presented here are republished to serve our healthcare community by informing and distributing knowledge from respected sources.
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But what happens when doctors fall apart?

When we need help, we count on doctors to put us back together. But what happens when doctors fall apart?

Funny, fresh, and deeply affecting, We Are All Perfectly Fine is the story of a married mother of three on the brink of personal and professional collapse who attends rehab with a twist: a meditation retreat for burned-out doctors.

Videoath recommendation

"One of the premiere books on what it means to be a physician and the toll it has on the soul. If you want to talk about burnout and the hard truth of being a doctor, read this. Learn from Jillian Horton, a Canadian internist, and her struggles in the Canadian medical system from the outside and inside." - Eric from Videoath

A general internist, has no idea what to expect

Jillian Horton, a general internist, has no idea what to expect during her five-day retreat at Chapin Mill, a Zen centre in upstate New York. She just knows she desperately needs a break. At first she is deeply uncomfortable with the spartan accommodations, silent meals and scheduled bonding sessions. But as the group struggles through awkward first encounters and guided meditations, something remarkable happens: world-class surgeons, psychiatrists, pediatricians and general practitioners open up and share stories about their secret guilt and grief, as well as their deep-seated fear of falling short of the expectations that define them. Horton realizes that her struggle with burnout is not so much personal as it is the result of a larger system failure, and that compartmentalizing your most difficult emotions—a coping strategy that is drilled into doctors—is not useful unless you face these emotions too.

Jillian Horton throws open a window onto the flawed system that shapes medical professionals, revealing the rarely acknowledged stresses that lead doctors to depression and suicide, and emphasizing the crucial role of compassion not only in treating others, but also in taking care of ourselves.

Amazon review

"This searing, real, and often funny account of her mid-life passage...is inspiring. A mother of three, her story moves from years of caring for her severely damaged sister, through trying her best as a med school dean charged with nurturing doctors in training, and finally to asking for help herself in a week-long Zen retreat that cracks open her doubt and moves her through her stuck journey as a doctor and human being. A bold account of great suffering, and great healing. All of us who work in "healthcare" can find an ally here, wise, dedicated, and kind. Super book." — **Samuel Shem, M.D., **Professor of Medicine in Medical Humanities at NYU School of Medicine, author of The House of God and its sequel, Man's 4th Best Hospital

About the Author

JILLIAN HORTON, M.D., is an award-winning medical educator, writer, musician and podcaster. She completed a residency and a fellowship in internal medicine at the University of Toronto and has held the post of associate dean and associate chair of that department. For sixteen years, she has cared for thousands of patients in an inner-city hospital. During that time, she had three sons and mentored hundreds of students. She now leads the development of new programs related to physician wellness and won the 2020 AFMC–Gold Humanism Award. As a teacher of mindfulness, she is sought after by doctors at all stages of their careers. Horton completed a master’s in English at the University of Western Ontario before beginning her journey into the heart of medicine.

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