Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2019: Shiny Happy People

Bring me joy

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 16 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6745

Linked BMJ Opinion

What brings you joy at work?

  1. Abi Rimmer, BMJ Careers editor
  1. The BMJ, London, UK

In the spirit of the season, Abi Rimmer asks six doctors to describe what brings them joy at work

It can often feel as though there is little to be positive about when working in healthcare, and it is easy to forget that there is joy to be found during the working day. But joy at work can and does exist for many doctors. This might come from an interaction with a patient or colleague, or from knowing that even the simplest of acts, such as making a cup of tea, can make a big difference. We hope that these doctors’ stories will help lift your spirits and encourage you to share your own using #bringmejoy.

No day is the same

Catherine Calderwood, chief medical officer for Scotland

I didn’t ever imagine that there could be job satisfaction that would rival the feeling of holding a newly born baby, handing them over to smiling, crying, overwhelmed parents and observing their faces filled with emotion and exhaustion. I have kept all the thank you cards.

But that was my previous job. Joy now is brought by the variety of days, which are literally never the same. There are interesting and influential people to meet, tough challenges to face, and difficult decisions to make. And then there is the interaction with the dedicated people I meet in Scotland and further afield while discussing Realistic Medicine1 and the effect it is having. There is joy too in moving away from my medical comfort zone into the worlds of education, justice, and finance. They provide great privileges, unique experiences, “likes” on Twitter, good conference feedback, and heartfelt thank you cards—and, yes, I do still keep them all—that keep me smiling.


Sally El-Ghazali, anaesthetics and intensive care registrar and chair of the Association of Anaesthetists Trainee Committee

I …

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