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Welcome to The Medicine Mentors interview series. Our mission is to create a platform for top physician mentors to share key insights, traits and best practices based on their experiences to guide medical students and residents.

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Apr 5, 2024

Tyler Johnson, MD, is a physician, author, educator, and humanitarian. He is a medical oncologist at Stanford University. He leads Stanford’s inpatient oncology services, and is one of the principal faculty members of the Stanford Educators-4-CARE program. Dr. Johnson is an author with a growing reputation for insightful analysis of the intersection of medicine, ethics, and spirituality; his writings have been featured by Religion News Service, the Salt Lake Tribune, BYU Studies, Dialogue, and The San Jose Mercury News. Dr. Johnson co-hosts "The Doctor's Art," the world's leading podcast dedicated to the examination of humanism in medicine.

“There is an element to [being a physician] that you just can’t find good words to describe other than things like spiritual and sacred.” While some have trouble finding the right words for it, Dr. Tyler Johnson provides us with a great one - ineffable. Tune in to an enlightening discussion with author, educator, host of ‘The Doctor’s Art’, and medical oncologist at Stanford University, Dr. Johnson, as we explore the ineffable side of medicine that drives us. Join us as we tap into the spiritual side of medicine, find out why kneeling and being eye-level to a patient can “puncture the aura of arrogance,” and why “we have to hold a space for mystery within medicine” to keep our passion from extinguishing.

Pearls of Wisdom:
1. Treat rigorously but care tenderly. In order to care we must relate, and a quick way to puncture the aura of arrogance typified with a doctor is to kneel at a patient’s bedside, or at least be eye level. Seeing someone eye to eye communicates a message that says I’m here to serve you. 
2. On the path to achieving great heights, don’t forget to remember the permanent things like relationships and the journey that sustain you. Your promotion or job will not love you back. 
3. It doesn’t have to be a church or an organization but lend yourself to a group that holds you accountable to a higher power or standard than yourself. Connect with something bigger than yourself that makes you reflect upon your actions in ways you don’t already.