Healing the Healers

Every month, breast cancer physicians, nurses and other staff gather for a lunch that has become a time to reflect and heal, in acknowledgment of patients lost and the challenging and stressful jobs they have.

Facilitated by Rab Razaak, Director of Outpatient Palliative Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, the lunch group discusses the grief and anxiety—as well as the positive, supportive events—they experience in their work. The lunch meetings often begin with the prompt of a poem or a relevant video and offer relaxation techniques, such as guided meditation. They are held the first Wednesday of every month.

“We’ve found it to be a great way to develop a supportive, family-type environment during the work day,” said Razaak, who was invited by Breast Cancer Program Co-Director Vered Stearns to start the lunches. “It’s a focused time to reflect and share our feelings. To have this come from our leadership is really impressive. It shows how invested Dr. Stearns is in her team.”

“It is an opportunity for us to come together to relax, discuss emotionally challenging cases, but more importantly, focus on the good and the positive of what we do every day. I always leave these meetings feeling less stressed, renewed and better prepared to care for our patients,” says nurse practitioner Carol Riley.