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During the COVID-19 pandemic, heroic clinician narratives have been a prominent feature of media coverage. Health care professionals who worked ceaselessly in intensive care units, sacrificed time with their families to travel to severely affected areas to care for patients with COVID-19, and put themselves in harm’s way have been acknowledged and rightly celebrated.1 For example, New Yorkers had a nightly ritual of cheering and making noise in support of health care workers and offered public support in the form of signs, treats, and other measures of appreciation that referenced the heroism of the health care workforce. However, the pandemic has outlasted these public demonstrations, and heroic narratives ultimately do not serve clinicians or public health.
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Corresponding Author: Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, PO Box 1364, SFGH Bldg 10, Ward 13, San Francisco, CA 94143-1364 (Urmimala.Sarkar@ucsf.edu).
Published Online: June 10, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.9569
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Cassel reported being the co-chair of the National Academy of Medicine report Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being. No other disclosures were reported.
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