Celebrating Doctors’ Day, March 31, 2019: A Reflection

By Rev. Kathy Schell, M.Div., BCC Mission Leader, Saint Joseph Mercy Chelsea

“So what keeps you coming back every day to work as a doctor?” I asked. With a perfectly straight face, he replied, “Hey, it’s all about the EMR! I love it!” When we finally ceased laughing, he added, “Seriously, it’s about the people.”

I suspect that “it’s the people” observation would resonate for nearly all of our physicians in Mercy Health/Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

I’ll allow a few physician comments to speak for themselves:


  • “I like to see people get better day to day, and know I’ve had a hand in that.”
  • “It’s stressful, but fulfilling. At the end of the day, I usually know I’ve done well.”
  • “My patients receive the best possible care with this system.”
  • “It’s the challenge of managing illness, seeing people at their sickest, then seeing them improve.”
  • “I have fun! I love the people I work with.”
  • “The whole team works well together.”
  • “High quality care,” “communication,” “sense of community,” “relationships,” “colleagues,” are consistent themes with our docs. They are people also (surprise!), and they care deeply about their colleagues and their patients, professionally and personally.

Witness this simple, profound sentence at the end of an expiration note in the chart of a patient who had been placed on comfort care: “May this soul rest in eternal peace.”

Frederick Buechner wrote: “The place God calls us to is the place where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Many physicians view their work as a calling, even if they wouldn’t necessarily use that vocational language. And since we are only human, there are days when we struggle to meet the world’s infinite deep hunger with “deep gladness.” Being a physician—a healer—is by no means easy, and that is a huge understatement.

On Doctors’ Day, we thank you for your knowledge and skill, but also for your perseverance, dedication and compassion. Our healing ministry could not happen without you.

Read “A Blessing for Physicians” provided by the Catholic Health Association.

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