This week’s episode is a fast paced conversation between myself and members of the “Choralosophers” Facebook page. Choralosophers is one of the most drama free choir director’s groups on the internet, and the desire of the members there to have interesting, and thoughtful conversations about our profession and art form is refreshing and such a great way for me to connect with the Choralosophy audience. I fielded dozens of questions and comments, but the bulk of them were focused on teaching literacy, starting out the school year well, and whether or not some of the “teacher burnout” phenomenon is being MISDIAGNOSED and confused with a concept called “moral injury.” So, tune in and stick around as we chew on some really important topics. And, as always, we welcome YOUR comments and questions in the Choralosophers FB page.
The term “moral injury” was first used to describe soldiers’ responses to their actions in war. It represents “perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations.” Journalist Diane Silver describes it as “a deep soul wound that pierces a person’s identity, sense of morality, and relationship to society.”
Most physicians enter medicine following a calling rather than a career path. They go into the field with a desire to help people. Many approach it with almost religious zeal, enduring lost sleep, lost years of young adulthood, huge opportunity costs, family strain, financial instability, disregard for personal health, and a multitude of other challenges. Each hurdle offers a lesson in endurance in the service of one’s goal which, starting in the third year of medical school, is sharply focused on ensuring the best care for one’s patients. Failing to consistently meet patients’ needs has a profound impact on physician wellbeing — this is the crux of consequent moral injury.