Today I read that the burn-out rate in physicians is 50%. Depending on the time of day you ask, we probably have sometimes even more than that. The pace is fast, and the ongoing load is now accompanied by more and more documentation on the computer-- and follow-up charting and phone- calls--- til one just can't stand any more. Wednesday I got out of the office at 7:30 and finished up the labor room at 8:30 pm. Back again today at 7:30 am for rounds and c/section before office hours at 9. On-call tonight and watching over a laboring patient-- not likely to go home before 11 pm--- but will be lucky if no one else delivers tonight. The burden of doing so much extra paperwork for the hospital charts, and reading journals ( skimping lately in comparison to earlier in my life) and phone calls for lab reports seems like it has made double the workload. I have been lucky to have the doctors in ISHI the institute started by Rachel Remen MD, as my friends, companions and Colleagues. We have tried to stay focused on the doctor-patient relationship, and the need for compassion and integrity, in our work. I know the young doctors are much better at the computer interface than am I; and I keep hoping the reforms of how we do things will increase both safety and quality-- which everyone says is the goal. Still I worry about the high amount of burn-out and numbness in myself and my colleagues. Trying to maintain work-life balance is hard.