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Palliative medicine physicians: doomed to burn?
  1. Julia Hynes1,
  2. Marina Maffoni2,
  3. Piergiorgio Argentero2,
  4. Ines Giorgi3 and
  5. Anna Giardini4
  1. 1 Department of Primary Care and Population Health, Medical School at the University of Nicosia, Nicosia, Cyprus
  2. 2 Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
  3. 3 Psychology Unit of Pavia, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Pavia, Italy
  4. 4 Psychology Unit of Montescano, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Montescano, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marina Maffoni, Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia 27100, Italy; marina.maffoni01{at}

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On the first day of term, we academics and clinicians watch our first-year physician students file into the lecture theatre full of joy and altruistic dynamism. They have a burning passion to gain the knowledge, expertise and practical wisdom to cure and care for their fellow humans in times of sickness and decline. Our hope is that each of their dreams and aspirations are realised, to the full, in a healthy educational and work setting. This should be one which openly appreciates, values and rewards their contribution, in the service of life in a practical and verbal fashion. That environment must support them when their bodies fatigue, hearts break and minds become overburdened watching (at times) unnecessary suffering and respond to challenging situations regarding life and death. We hope that the flame of their passions does not burn out due to lack of provision and time for self-care …

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  • JH and MM are joint first authors.

  • Contributors All authors significantly contributed to the writing of this editorial.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The Authors have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests. We are partners of the We Distress HELL Project (WEllness and DISTRESS in HEalth care professionals dealing with end of Life and bioethicaL issues) approved by the Italian Maugeri Ethical Committee (Protocol N° 2211CE).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.