Then you read things like this speech by Donald Berwick, who was recently appointed to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). There are some medically-related writings out there that are inspirational, insightful and help keep things in focus. Dr. Berwick's speech is one of these writings.
I am not going to say much more, except to urge you to take the time to read the transcript linked above. It will only take a few moments, and will make a lasting impact. Whether in the medical field or a patient, this is moving and reminds us of key facts: the focus of health care and health care encounters should be on the patient's wellness, and that we are privileged as physicians to be given the opportunity to work with patients and to help them in their times of need.
"What is at stake here may seem a small thing in the face of the enormous health care world you have joined. It is as a nickel to the $2.6 trillion industry. But that small thing is what matters. I will tell you: it is all that matters. All that matters is the person. The person. The individual. The patient. The poet. The lover. The adventurer. The frightened soul. The wondering mind. The learned mind. The Husband. The Wife. The Son. The Daughter.
[...] Those who suffer need you to be something more than a doctor; they need you to be a healer. And, to become a healer, you must do something even more difficult than putting your white coat on. You must take your white coat off. You must recover, embrace, and treasure the memory of your shared, frail humanity--of the dignity in each and every soul. When you take off that white coat in the sacred presence of those for whom you will care--in the sacred presence of people just like you--when you take off that white coat, and, tower not over them, but join those you serve, you become a healer in a world of fear and fragmentation, and "aching" world...that has never needed healing more."