Why We Choose Palliative Care as a Profession

June 26, 2015 | By CAPC Staff

Over the past two years, we have asked the same question to palliative care specialists across the country: "What made you want to pursue palliative care as a career?”

While answers vary from specialist to specialist, these professionals share a collective belief that caring for the whole person is the future of healthcare. This belief motivates them to take the necessary steps to make this vision a reality.

Another commonality among many specialists is that they transitioned into the palliative profession through other medical specialties such as oncology and geriatrics, and not directly through medical school. Because of this, many believe that palliative care should be better integrated earlier in a clinician’s education.

“It made sense to me that as we get older and our needs get greater in healthcare, everyone is going to be needing a special focus because life is precious. I always knew that from my heart but I also knew that in medical school, that was absent. When I learned about palliative care and how it focused on the whole person…I said, ‘that’s it, that’s our future.’”

Maria Gatto
Director of Palliative Care at Trinity Health

Maybe it was a memorable experience with a patient or an encouraging mentor. Or perhaps it was an overwhelming feeling that clinicians can do more for seriously ill patients. Whatever the motivating factor, these moments represent their first steps toward a fulfilling and impactful career where patients remain at the center.

As part of the Clinician Corner series, CAPC has rolled out a playlist featuring these responses. Here are five video responses in the series:

Cory Ingram, MD MS FAAHPM, Practice Chair of Community Palliative Medicine at Mayo Clinic

Lori Yosick, MSW, LISW, Executive Director of Mount Carmel Palliative Care

Ginger Marshall, NP, Director of Inpatient Palliative Care, Carolinas Healthcare System

Rab Razzak, MD, Director of Outpatient Palliative Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Jay Horton, RN, Director of Palliative Care Consult Service at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital

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